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)
|Drogba: I want to be ready, not a burden|
|Hamstrung Clasie in doubt for Southampton league opener|
|West Ham goalscorer Zarate bemoans Astra comeback|
|Negredo quashes Valencia exit rumours|
|´This is not my Sampdoria´ - president Ferrero|
|Criscito could join Inter - agent|
|CBF endorse Zico´s FIFA presidency campaign|
|Hawit to handle CONCACAF´s referee review|
|Falcao is a ´top, top player´ - Terry|
|Tuchel pleased by Dortmund fighting qualities|
|Premier League rules out schedule changes for Champions League clubs|
|UEFA Europa League Review: Southampton stroll as Sampdoria are humiliated|
|Koeman confident of Southampton progress|
|Bilic frustrated with Collins´ red card, Valencia injury|
|Bamford hits hat-trick in Bromley friendly|
|Southampton 3 Vitesse 0: Play-offs in sight for Koeman’s men|
|Wolfsberger 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Tuchel begins tenure with narrow win|
|West Ham 2 Astra 2: Collins red allows visitors back in|
|Kukesi - Legia match abandoned|
|Joining Roma an ´easy decision´ - Szczesny|
|Chiriches joins Napoli from Spurs|
|Mihajlovic pleased with Milan improvements|
|Injured Chiellini to miss Supercoppa|
|Newcastle complete Mbemba swoop|
|Blackpool protest incurs FA fine|
|Scottish Premiership Preview: Dons seek to run Celtic closer|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Lyon: Ibrahimovic ready for season opener|
|Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich: De Bruyne centre of attention|
|Real Madrid 0 Milan 0 (10-9 on pens): Real lift second International Champions Cup|
|De Bruyne a doubt for Supercup clash|
|Reine-Adelaide needs time to blossom, says Walcott|
|Rodgers will not rush Ibe development|
|Napoli not interested in selling Higuain - De Laurentiis|
|Wilson agrees Bournemouth extension|
|Messi makes early Barcelona return|
|Ibrahimovic: My next move will be a very big surprise|
|Van Aanholt backs Lens to shine|
|Besiktas complete loan move for Gomez|
|McClaren: No decision on Coloccini future|
|Kane, Kaka hail goalkeeper Rimando|
|Chung eager to become FIFA president|
|Yedlin open to loan move|
|Tigres not scared of River trip - Ferretti|
|MLS Preview: Wright-Phillips, Lampard set to debut|
|´A draw is good for us´ - River´s Gallardo confident of Libertadores success|
|Di Maria poised for PSG switch - Blanc|
|Franjic: Bring on Bangladesh, Tajikistan|
|Van Gaal bemoans De Gea situation|
|MLS All-Stars 2 Tottenham 1: Kane stunner can´t spare Spurs|
|Manchester United 0 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Van Gaal´s defensive frailties exposed|
|Tigres UANL 0 River Plate 0: Visitors lose Gallardo in Copa Libertadores final first leg|
|Penedo parts ways with Galaxy|
|Benitez backs Mihajlovic, Milan to succeed|
|Barnetta joins Union in MLS|
|Allegri critical of Morata´s attitude|
|Franjic targets more A-League glory with City|
|Beto undaunted by Super Cup clash against Barca|
|Advocaat upbeat despite another Sunderland flop|
|McClaren praises Newcastle recruit Mitrovic|
|Payet will improve West Ham - Bilic|
|Pulis confirms interest in Lambert|
|Deila expects tough test in Baku|
|Drogba mobbed by Montreal Impact fans|
|UEFA Champions League Review: Ajax spurn two-goal lead at 10-man Rapid|
|Sunderland´s struggles continue as Doncaster cruise to win|
|Mahrez and Nugent on target in Leicester win|
|Mitrovic tastes debut defeat for Newcastle|
|Celtic 1 Qarabag 0: Boyata snatches crucial win|
|Jablonec 0 Copenhagen 1: Verbic cracker gives Danes the edge|
|Norwich sign Wisdom on loan from Liverpool|
|UEFA Europa League Preview: Koeman plays down importance of Vitesse links|
|Schneiderlin keen to learn from experienced duo|
|Mandzukic´s maiden Juventus goal seals win in Poland|
|Fofana completes Bastia loan|
|Deila delighted that Gordon pledges future to Celtic|
|Grenier ruled out for four months|
|Rooney: United squad ready for title challenge|
|Messi and Neymar available for start of season|
|Szczesny seals Roma switch|
|Benitez cools Mourinho war of words|
|Filipe Luis vows to win back Atletico fans|
|Besiktas in negotiations over Gomez switch|
|Kishna seals Lazio switch|
|Diaby completes Marseille move|
|Platini is bad for FIFA - Prince Ali|
|Bilic keen to make further additions|
|Brady makes Norwich move|
|Southampton complete Caulker loan|
|Rummenigge feels Muller ´will never leave´ Bayern|
|Platini to stand in FIFA presidential election|
|Howedes to remain Schalke skipper|
|Albion sign Hull defender Chester|
|Lucescu defends Fred selection amid doping allegations|
|Fabregas still in love with Arsenal|
|Luis Enrique ´happy´ with Barca´s US trip|
|Mourinho optimistic over Cahill and Costa|
|River owe Tigres´ Esqueda - Mercado|
|Van Gaal expecting big season from Shaw|
|Begovic keen to challenge Courtois|
|Mourinho launches attack on Benitez|
|CONMEBOL ´knocked on a lot of doors´ to keep half-spot - president|
|America 0 Benfica 0 (3-4 on penalties): Primeira Liga champions finally win|
|Napoli striker Higuain ´untouchable´ - Gabbiadini|
|Arsenal´s friendly form will boost confidence - Wenger|
|Nagatomo-Melo swap possible, says agent|
|Chelsea 2 Barcelona 2 (4-2 on penalties): Courtois stars for Premier League champions|
|Eriksen calls for ruthless Spurs|
|Pulis praises Berahino attitude|
|Alderweireld confident of top-four finish|
|Villa ready for tough Spurs clash|
|West Ham edge win on Carrow Road anniversary|
|Kozak scores twice as Villa draw at Wolves|