BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has shaken off a minor ankle injury and been included in the 24-man Germany squad named on Friday for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Austria and the Faroe Islands.
Schweinsteiger, who needed foot surgery at the end of Bayern Munich’s treble-winning campaign last season, missed most of his side’s pre-season preparations and has yet to hit top form.
Germany host Austria in Munich on September 6 followed by the away tie against the Faroe Islands four days later.
The holding midfielder, who has 98 caps, picked up an ankle injury in Tuesday’s 1-1 Bundesliga draw at Freiburg but the knock turned out to be less severe than initially feared.
Bayern Munich team mate and Germany captain Philipp Lahm will reach 100 caps with an appearance against Austria.
Coach Joachim Loew also included in his squad the Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Sidney Sam and forward Max Kruse, who were part of Germany’s U.S. tour in May and June.
“Both showed on our trip to the United States that they can be good alternatives for our attack,” he said. “They’ve started well for their clubs this season and deserve this chance.”
Sam’s club team mate and last season’s Bundesliga top scorer Stefan Kiessling, who already has two league goals in three games this season, was again overlooked by Loew.
Kiessling, who last played for Germany in 2010, said this week he was not expecting to feature again under Loew after being snubbed for years.
Loew will also be without injured midfielders Lukas Podolski and Ilkay Guendogan.
“We are top of our group and have a good lead but we have not yet qualified,” he told reporters. “Our aim is clear and that is to take the next big step with two wins in the two games.”
After six matches, Germany top Group C on 16 points, ahead of Austria, Sweden and Ireland, who are separated by goal difference on 11 points each. Kazakhstan have a single point and the Faroe Islands have lost all of their matches to date.
Germany then play Ireland in Cologne on October 11 before travelling to Sweden four days later.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Rene Adler (Hamburg SV), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hanover 96)
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke 04), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund)
Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Sven Bender (Borussia Dortmund), Julian Draxler 9Schalke 04), Mario Goetze (Bayern Munich) Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Sidney Sam (Bayer Leverkusen), Andre Schuerrle (Chelsea), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Mario Gomez (Fiorentina), Max Kruse (Borussia Moenchengladbach)
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by John O'Brien and Ken Ferris