Low: Klose slowly hitting top form

PRETORIA - Troubled Germany striker Miroslav Klose looks set to win a starting spot in their opening match against Australia with coach Joachim Low saying he is hitting top form after a disappointing season.

Klose scored only three league goals for Bayern Munich last season and has looked out of form in most of Germany's World Cup warm-up matches in recent months.

"No, there were no such gifts today," Low said when asked if Klose, who turned 32 on Wednesday, would start their Group D opener on Sunday as a birthday present.

"But what is clear is that Miro feels well, very well psychologically," he told reporters.

"Yesterday in training I saw he moved very well, he went into the actions quickly and I have the good feeling that he is slowly finding his physical and mental form."

Klose, who was top scorer at the 2006 World Cup with five goals having finished second with five at the 2002 tournament, was taken off at halftime in his team's final friendly against Bosnia last week, with Germany trailing 1-0.

They went on to win 3-1, scoring all of their goals with substitute Cacau on the pitch.

"Miro had a tough year and he has admitted that he underestimated some situations," said Low. "But he has worked hard... and I think this week he can loosen that handbrake."


Three time champions Germany are keen to all but secure a spot in the next round before their final match against Ghana at higher altitude in Johannesburg.

But Low, in his first World Cup as head coach, warned the Australians were no pushovers.

"Their coach demands organisation and discipline. They have an unbelievable passion, unbelievable organisation and a near-perfect defensive structure," Low said at his team's isolated training base near Pretoria.

Germany have had to deal with a string of injuries, including the absence of injured captain Michael Ballack, and Low said his squad was still far from its peak.

"This is a young team and some players will need to lift themselves out of the shadows. Maybe this team will peak in a few years. It has not yet reached its peak and the future belongs to it."

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