SALVADOR Brazil (Reuters) - Veteran Germany striker Miroslav Klose arrived in Brazil with the most World Cup goals record in his sights but any hopes he had of a helping hand from coach Joachim Loew to break it were dashed on Sunday.
Klose, Germany’s 36-year-old all-time top scorer, is one strike away from equaling a tournament record of 15 goals held by former Brazil striker Ronaldo, and few would bet against him surpassing it if he has the pitch time in Brazil.
Speaking ahead of Germany’s Group G opener against Portugal on Monday, Loew was full of praise for Klose but said the record would not be on his mind as he tries to cram a plethora of attacking talent into his starting line-up.
“I would be very happy for him as a player if he were to achieve this historic mark because he’s been present at numerous World Cups, but as a coach, those statistics are secondary,” Loew told reporters at Salvador’s Fonte Nova arena.
“Whether Miroslav will play in the initial line-up or as a substitute, he is very important for the team. He is a player who is always a role model on and off the field.”
Klose is likely to lose out on a starting berth to Thomas Mueller, joint top scorer in the 2010 World Cup, with German media also suggesting midfielder Mesut Ozil could be used in a more advanced role.
Klose, who broke Gerd Mueller’s 40-year record as Germany’s top scorer in June when he notched his 69th goal in a 6-1 rout of Armenia, also has another record he could possibly break.
With 19 World Cup match appearances, Klose could inch towards Lothar Matthaeus’s record of 25, or even pass it if Germany reach the last four and he plays every game.
Editing by Ed Osmond