Kroos dreaming of World Cup spot

BERLIN - Bayer Leverkusen playmaker Toni Kroos expressed his surprise at being included in a national team performance test this week and said he was now allowing himself to dream of a spot in Germany's World Cup squad.

Germany coach Joachim Loew has selected 30 players to take part in the three-day check-up, including Kroos who scored once and set up two other goals in Leverkusen's 3-0 win over Hoffenheim on Sunday which kept them top of the Bundesliga.

"I never expected this invitation to the performance test. That is why I am surprised," the 20-year-old midfielder told the German soccer federation website on Monday.

"But it is clear that if I have consistent performances then I have every right to dream of this summer's World Cup (in South Africa)," he said.

"For the moment I just want to continue playing well in the Bundesliga and we will then see what happens in the summer."

Kroos, on loan from Bayern Munich, has blossomed under coach Jupp Heynckes this season, netting eight times and conducting Leverkusen's aggressive game with a maturity and cool head well beyond his years.

"I always believed in myself... but Jupp Heynckes was the only one who trusted me for a longer period. That is the deciding factor," said Kroos, who has played for Germany from the under-15s upwards.

Bayern are eager for Kroos to return to Munich at the end of the season, though Kroos said a decision would be taken in the coming weeks.

"It is not that I have a dilemma. Either I will return to Bayern, one of the world's biggest clubs, or there are other options," he said.

"In the coming weeks there will be talks with the Bayern bosses and then there will be a decision."