BERLIN - Germany coach Joachim Low is showing no signs of backing down on his decision to leave Kevin Kuranyi in the cold, despite the Schalke 04 forward's outstanding season ahead of the World Cup.
Low had been expected to watch Schalke host Bayern Munich in a top-of-the-table Bundesliga match on Saturday but opted at the last minute to go to the midtable game between VfB Stuttgart and Borussia Moenchengladbach.
As German media pointed out, he was 452 kilometres away when Kuranyi scored his 18th league goal of the season - making him joint top-scorer with Bayer Leverkusen's Stefan Kiessling and VfL Wolfsburg's Edin Dzeko - in Schalke's 2-1 defeat.
"It was guaranteed that the cameras would have been focused on Low with every good Kuranyi move," said Welt newspaper's website, speculating on Low's surprise decision to skip the top match of the Bundesliga season so far.
It has become an uncomfortable situation for the Germany coach, especially with his favoured strikers Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski having unproductive seasons with two goals apiece in the Bundesliga.
Mario Gomez is also far from the form which made him the Bundesliga's most expensive signing when he joined Bayern Munich at the start of the season.
Kiessling is another talking point, having been given only three outings by Loew despite his goal tally.
"Stefan Kiessling is a top class striker and I think Kevin Kuranyi is also good," Bayer Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes told reporters after Kiessling scored twice in Leverkusen's 3-2 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt.
"If Podolski and Klose start clicking, then we will have a great strikeforce for the World Cup."
Kuranyi, who has won 52 caps and scored 19 goals for Germany since 2003, last played for his country in September 2008.
A month later he stormed out of the team, furious at being dropped from the squad for their World Cup qualifier against Russia.
Low vowed to never call him up again even after the 28-year-old striker apologised for his behaviour days later. The coach has declined to comment on the possibility of a pardon.
Germany are in Group D with Australia, Serbia and Ghana for the World Cup in South Africa, which starts on June 11.