BERLIN (AFP) - Bayern Munich forward Lukas Podolski has been recalled to the Germany squad for World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Wales, coach Joachim Loew announced Thursday.
Podolski has spent much of this season on Bayern's bench behind first-choice forwards Luca Toni and Miroslav Klose, but injury to the pair has given the 23-year-old his chance with three goals in his last three games.
And with Klose, top scorer at the 2006 World Cup, out of the qualifiers with an ankle injury, Podolski is back in the squad having missed the friendly defeat to Norway last month.
"It is very pleasing that Lukas is playing well for Bayern again," said Loew.
"Regardless, we would have invited him into the squad for the two international matches, because we always said Lukas has the correct rhythm in training and is a valuable striker."
Germany have lost both of their last two home games - for the first time since 1956 - and there is pressure on Loew to get his team back to winning ways after friendly defeats to England and Norway.
Hertha Berlin defender Arne Friedrich and Bayern Munich's Marcell Jansen have also been recalled with Germany set to face Liechtenstein in Leipzig on March 28 and Wales in Cardiff on April 1.
Hanover goalkeeper Robert Enke is back in the squad after breaking his thumb last autumn.
And Wolfsburg's Marcel Schaefer and Hoffenheim's Andreas Beck retain their places in the squad.
"It is important to select players for several fixtures," said Loew.
"I am also pleased Robert Enke is fit again, he has found his old form fast."
Having lost his place in the German defence during Euro 2008, Marcell Jansen is back from injury by being named as a midfielder in the squad and made his last appearance against Belgium in August.
"We have named him in the midfield, because his Hamburg team-mate Piotr Trochowski has an injury question mark over him," explained Loew.
Beside veterans captain Michael Ballack and Torsten Frings, Hertha defender Friedrich is back in the squad following a back injury and stands to win his 65th cap.
"It is an advantage that we can use him to help us organise the defence," said Loew.
"With Hertha, he has proven his class and experience this season, which owes something to his constant performances and has been a large part of their success at the top of the table."
Goalkeepers: Rene Adler (Leverkusen), Robert Enke (Hanover), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen)
Defence: Andreas Beck (Hoffenheim), Arne Friedrich (Berlin), Andreas Hinkel (Glasgow Celtic/SCO), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Marcel Schaefer (Wolfsburg), Serdar Tasci (Stuttgart), Heiko Westermann (Schalke 04)
Midfielders: Michael Ballack (Chelsea/ENG), Torsten Frings (Werder Bremen), Thomas Hitzlsperger (Stuttgart), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg), Marko Marin (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Simon Rolfes (Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Piotr Trochowski (Hamburg)
Forwards: Mario Gomez (Stuttgart), Patrick Helmes (Leverkusen), Stefan Kiessling (Leverkusen), Lukas Podolski (Bayern Munich)
|Inzaghi finds positives in lacklustre display|
|Eredivisie Review: AZ move third, Propper fires Vitesse to victory|
|Chievo 0 Milan 0: Pressure back on Inzaghi|
|Bundesliga Review: Derby win for Dortmund superheroes, Leverkusen go fourth|
|Ligue 1 Review: Lyon loss leaves door open for PSG|
|Bueno nets perfect hat-trick in four-goal spree for Rayo|
|Carver impressed with Newcastle´s fighting spirit|
|Van Gaal explains Di Maria decision|
|Luis Enrique angered by Granada pitch|
|Sherwood confident of Villa survival|
|Referee East says ´no mistaken identity´ as Poyet pledges to look again|
|League One Review: Robertson and Johnson off to winning starts, Bristol City go eight clear|
|Bruce angered by missed decision|
|Berahino can be ´top class´ - Pulis|
|Grateful Gutierrez thanks ´special´ fans|
|Monk targets Swansea points record|
|Klopp´s ´perfect´ afternoon|
|Victory soured by Ireland injury, says Hughes|
|Championship Review: Middlesbrough´s opportunity missed as Derby are defeated|
|Koeman: I am realistic on Champions League|
|League Two Review: Burton beaten again, Hartlepool gain welcome lift|
|´Triple punishment´ rule could be scrapped|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Inverness slip up as strugglers prosper|
|Mancini wary of Fiorentina quality|
|Hearts attack hits double figures in Scotland|
|West Brom 1 Southampton 0: Berahino wins it, then limps off|
|Manchester United 2 Sunderland 0: Rooney at the double amid red card controversy|
|Newcastle United 1 Aston Villa 0: Cisse strike downs visitors|
|Stoke City 1 Hull City 0: Super sub Crouch secures win|
|Granada 1 Barcelona 3: Suarez inspires routine win|
|Burnley 0 Swansea City 1: Trippier own goal proves decisive|
|Borussia Dortmund 3 Schalke 0: Late show seals dominant derby win|
|Referee Dowd fails to make it through West Brom, Saints clash|
|Allardyce ´shocked´ after home loss|
|Pardew lauds Murray after ´mixed afternoon´ for striker|
|West Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3: Pardew enjoys more away-day success|
|Blanc: PSG prepared for confident Monaco|
|Ancelotti: Isco place is non-negotiable|
|Pellegrini out to end dismal record at Anfield|
|Roma v Juventus: Matri eyes glory in title tussle|
|Martinez wary of wounded Arsenal|
|A-League Review: Spectacular Sydney derby the highlight|
|Perez to testify in corruption case|
|Bentaleb determined to avoid European hangover|
|Liverpool cannot dwell on Europa exit, says Rodgers|
|Marquinhos welcomes Manchester United interest|
|Tottenham must be ´nearly perfect´ to beat Chelsea - Pochettino|
|Bielsa: I take responsibility|
|League Cup final ´most important´ for Mourinho|
|Rodgers unsure if European exit will be a blessing|
|Vitoria Guimaraes 1 Maritimo 0: Hosts end winless run|
|Guardiola satisfied with Cologne victory|
|Espanyol 1 Cordoba 0: Abraham goal secures the points|
|Marseille 2 Caen 3: Hosts throw lead away yet again|
|Bayern Munich 4 Cologne 1: Champions move 11 points clear|
|Dordrecht 2 Go Ahead Eagles 1: Klaiber leaves it late|
|Luis Enrique laments English ´campaign´ over Suarez|
|Atletico Madrid v Sevilla: Champions attempt to bounce back|
|De Gea dismisses ´lies´ about Van Gaal relationship|
|Monaco v Paris Saint-Germain: Jardim wants no Champions League distractions|
|Inter v Fiorentina: Both sides on a high after Europa League success|
|Real Madrid v Villarreal: Ancelotti´s side looking to keep chasing pack at bay|
|Arsenal v Everton: Hurting Wenger calls for immediate response|
|Hull and Panathinaikos among four clubs pay FFP fines|
|Liverpool v Manchester City: Champions eye long-awaited Anfield success|
|Lucas Moura out for at least four weeks|
|Chelsea v Tottenham: Mourinho´s men channel spirit of 2005|
|Loan move to Ipswich an easy decision for Wood|
|Qatar World Cup final no later than December 18 - Blatter|
|Martinez excited by Kiev draw|
|Dynamo face disciplinary hearing after crowd trouble|
|Hughes close on signing new Stoke deal|
|Parma game called off again|
|De Boer to stay at Ajax|
|Arnesen backs Vieira as potential future City director of football|
|Mourinho has no fears over Wembley referee|
|Van Persie absent for Sunderland clash|
|Mason hoping to relive 2008 at League Cup final|
|Fiorentina and Roma to meet in Europa League|
|Inter finalise Felipe swoop|
|Poyet delighted to have ´contagious´ Cattermole back|
|Melbourne City 3 Adelaide United 1: Baharudin triggers crucial comeback|
|Chelsea can cope with Matic absence - Terry|
|Mancini: I tried to take Guarin to Galatasaray|
|Wilshere undergoes ankle procedure|
|Bruce: Most Championship clubs would struggle with FFP|
|Henry would say yes to Arsenal job|
|Mignolet backs ´devastated´ Liverpool to regroup|
|Tiote looks set to miss the rest of the season|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Osvaldo scores for Boca, Internacional win|
|Alajuelense 5 DC United 2: Costa Ricans set for semis|
|Besiktas settled score with Liverpool - Cenk|
|Montella: Hard to keep Salah|
|Martinez salutes Everton´s qualification|
|Europa League games marred by crowd trouble|