Forward Mario Gomez has not scored in his last 13 appearances for Germany so a match against a Wales side who appear to have surrendered all hope of reaching the World Cup finals could be just what he needs. Coach Joachim Loew has remained loyal to Gomez despite his lack of goals and looks set to retain him alongside Lukas Podolski in Cardiff on Wednesday in Group Four in the continued absence of injured striker Miroslav Klose. Stuttgart's Gomez could even benefit from the match being away after he was jeered by home fans in Leipzig on Saturday when he missed several chances in the 4-0 defeat of Leichtenstein which maintained Germany's four-point lead. "Of course, the whistles hurt," Gomez said in an interview on Eurosport. "It is obvious that it wasn't good, and if they are whistling me personally, then that isn't nice. "I know how it is and it would be different had I scored. I just need to start putting the ball over the line." WHIPPING BOYS Euro 2008 runners-up Germany are clear favourites to win the group although with second-placed Russia, who have a game in hand, up against whipping boys Liechtenstein on Wednesday, Loew will be wary of the unpredictable Welsh. "They need to open up more if they want to have a chance to qualify," Loew said of Wales although the mood in the Welsh camp after a 2-0 home defeat by Finland on Saturday suggests they have already given up. Skipper Craig Bellamy summed up the mood after a third defeat in their five groups games so far. "You've probably seen two poor sides trying to contest this group and none have a glimmer of hope of qualifying," he told the BBC. "Where do we go from here? God knows." Coach John Toshack admitted his side's hopes of qualifying for a first major finals since the 1958 World Cup finals are over. "We've got five games left and realistically if we won all five we still wouldn't have enough points." Germany are likely to be unchanged from the side that beat Liechtenstein with Hamburg's Marcell Jansen retaining his place on the left and defender Serdar Tasci also getting another chance after a positive display on Saturday. Probable teams: Wales: Wayne Hennessey; Chris Gunter, James Collins, Lewin Nyatanga, Gareth Bale; Simon Davies, Carl Fletcher, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Ledley, Jason Koumas; Craig Bellamy. Germany: Robert Enke, Andreas Beck, Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Serdar Tasci; Marcell Jansen, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Michael Ballack; Lukas Podolski, Mario Gomez.
30 March 2009
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