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Boateng fit for Germany

2014-06-30 08:10
Joachim Loew, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger (AFP)

PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil - Jerome Boateng is fit again but Germany coach Joachim Loew is yet to make up his mind whether to field Sami Khedira or Bastian Schweinsteiger in Monday's World Cup round of 16 match against Algeria.

The Bayern Munich defender Boateng returned from knee problems to team training on Sunday in the Porto Alegre stadium, the final session before the game.

Loew will not have Arsenal winger Lukas Podolski available owing to injury.

He said he will decide by instinct whether Khedira or Schweinsteiger will play in midfield.

Both came to the World Cup from injury lay-offs, with Khedira sidelined almost six months with a ruptured cruciate knee ligament.

Khedira played in the 4-0 win over Portugal and 2-2 draw with Ghana, Schweinsteiger in the 1-0 win over the United States, and Loew is happy to have both available.

"It is good that they are sharing the job in one or another game," Loew said. "Their physical condition is good, both have improved, both can fulfil the tasks in their position on the field."

However, the coach also said that the remaining uncertainties around the two were one reason why he decided to field captain Philipp Lahm in midfield as well.

"It was clear for me that Philipp plays in midfield," Loew said, adding that it is "a small miracle" that Real Madrid's Khedira recovered in time for Brazil.

Loew expressed optimism for the game with Algeria, who famously beat West Germany 2-1 in 1982, and are in the knock-out rounds for the first time at a World Cup.

"I am absolutely relaxed, focussed and concentrated. I have a very good feeling. We can enter the game with a lot of confidence," he said.

Loew nonetheless warned that Germany must "not look at the next round but must master the difficult task against Algeria first."

Lahm struck a similar note, saying: "Either you perform or you are kicked out."

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