Kroos & Mueller handed World Cup incentive

BERLIN - Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Toni Kroos and Bayern Munich midfielder Thomas Mueller (pictured) were handed a World Cup incentive on Thursday after being named in Germany's squad for a two-day performance test.

Captain Michael Ballack, who will be in action for Chelsea, will not attend the Stuttgart event on Tuesday and Wednesday while striker Lukas Podolski and defender Heiko Westermann have also been excluded due to injury.

The two-day performance check is part of a process to test the state of the players as coach Joachim Loew gradually narrows down the squad for the June 11-July 11 World Cup in South Africa.

"The 30-member roster includes players who have played a role in our team in the past months as well as younger player who have prospects beyond the 2010 World Cup," Loew said on the federation website.

"It is this circle of players that we will be intensively monitoring in the next few months."

Defenders Dennis Aogo of Hamburg SV, VfB Stuttgart's Christian Traesch as well as Stoke City's Robert Huth, who were part of Germany's Asian Tour last year, were recalled.

Experienced defensive midfielder Torsten Frings was told on Wednesday he would not be called up as Loew has ruled him out of his tournament plans. Real Madrid defender Christoph Metzelder was also not called up.

Germany, who have been drawn in a group with Australia, Serbia and Ghana, have their first friendly match this year against Argentina on March 3.


Goalkeepers: Rene Adler (Bayer Leverkusen), Manuel Neuer (Schalke 04), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen);

Defenders: Dannis Aogo (Hamburg SV), Andreas Beck (Hoffenheim), Jerome Boateng (Hamburg SV), Arne Friedrich (Hertha Berlin), Robert Huth (Stoke City), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Marcel Schaefer (VfL Wolfsburg), Serdar Tasci (VfB Stuttgart), Christian Traesch (VfB Stuttgart).

Midfielders: Christian Gentner (VfL Wolfsburg), Thomas Hitzlsperger (VfB Stuttgart), Aaron Hunt (Werder Bremen), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg SV), Sami Khedira (VfB Stuttgart), Toni Kroos (Bayer Leverkusen), Marko Marin (Werder Bremen), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Werder Bremen), Simon Rolfes (Bayer Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Piotr Trochowski (Hamburg SV).

Strikers: Cacau (VfB Stuttgart), Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Patrick Helmes (Bayer Leverkusen), Stefan Kiessling (Bayer Leverkusen), Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich).