Löw sticks with Cacau for France friendly

Out-of-form VfB Stuttgart striker Cacau has been included in the Germany squad for their friendly against France next Wednesday despite his disappointing season so far and amid growing competition from a string of younger Bundesliga players.

The 30-year-old, who has notched just four goals in 22 league games this season, scored the last of his five international goals in September 2011 against Poland.

The Brazil-born forward was widely expected to lose his spot to Borussia Monchengladbach's Mike Hanke as Germany prepare their bid to end a 16-year title drought with victory at June's Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

"It is the year of our big chance," coach Joachim Low told reporters. "The chance of achieving quite a bit in the tournament."

Germany will face France in Bremen next Wednesday without the injured Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Goetze, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker.

The three-time European champions will also play friendlies with Switzerland on May 26 and Israel on June 1 before the start of the tournament.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen)

Defenders: Dennis Aogo (Hamburg SV), Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke 04), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund), Christian Trasch (VfL Wolfsburg)

Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Sven Bender (Borussia Dortmund), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Marco Reus (Borussia Monchengladbach), Simon Rolfes (Bayer Leverkusen), Andre Schuerrle (Bayer Leverkusen)

Forwards: Cacau (VfB Stuttgart), Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Miroslav Klose (Lazio).