Howedes called up for Germany qualifiers

BERLIN - Schalke 04 defender Benedikt Howedes has been called up for Germany's Euro 2012 qualifiers and friendly game against Uruguay, coach Joachim Low announced on Thursday.

The 23-year-old was brought in to plug the gap left by holding midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sven Bender, who were ruled out with injuries.

"I never expected to get called up. It was a real surprise and I immediately cancelled my holidays," said Howedes.

Germany, who top Group A with a maximum 15 points, play Austria in Vienna on June 3 before travelling to face Azerbaijan on June 7. They will meet Uruguay in a friendly on Sunday.

"Benedikt is one of those young players we have been monitoring for a long time. He is versatile in the defence and that is why we called him up at short notice," said Low in a statement.