Podolski to skipper Germany in his final game

Germany's Lukas Podolski will make his 130th and final appearance by wearing the captain's armband against Gareth Southgate's Three Lions in Dortmund.
Germany's Lukas Podolski will make his 130th and final appearance by wearing the captain's armband against Gareth Southgate's Three Lions in Dortmund.PHOTO: EPA

DORTMUND • Lukas Podolski will captain injury-hit Germany on his farewell international appearance in today's friendly against England, head coach Joachim Low has confirmed.

Podolski, 31, will make his 130th and final appearance by wearing the captain's armband against Gareth Southgate's Three Lions in Dortmund.

"It's sensational, you can't ask for more," said Podolski, who will join Japan's Vissel Kobe next season, upon hearing he will captain his country on his farewell.

"My final appearance will be a lovely, but also a sad moment for me. I'm pleased I will get a chance to say goodbye to the fans," added the Galatasaray striker, who made his international debut in 2004 and has since scored 48 goals for his country.

However, world champions Germany are missing a host of first choice players.

"As well as our captain Manuel Neuer, Mario Gomez, Mesut Ozil and Julian Draxler are also injured," Low told a press conference yesterday.

With both attacking midfielders Draxler of Paris Saint-Germain and Arsenal's Ozil out, Real Madrid's Toni Kroos will most likely fill the role.

Gomez's absence is especially disappointing with the striker having netted in his last three German Bundesliga games for Wolfsburg and appearing to have rediscovered his top form.

However, RB Leipzig's Timo Werner is likely to be an ideal replacement for Gomez.

The 21-year-old is set to make his debut having scored 14 goals in the Bundesliga so far this season.

And in the absence of first-choice goalkeeper Neuer, who has a calf injury, Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen, PSG's Kevin Trapp and Bayer Leverkusen's Bernd Leno will be vying to start between the posts.

Low is already without injured defender Jerome Boateng and winger Marco Reus while World Cup winner Mario Gotze is sidelined until next season with a metabolism disorder.

The 57-year-old will be hoping to have some of his stars back for Sunday's 2018 World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan in Baku with his side five points clear in their group.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline 'Podolski to skipper Germany in his final game'. Print Edition | Subscribe