Retained: Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose, Mario Gomez, Cacau, Stefan Kiessling, Thomas Mueller
Projected Starters: Klose, Podolski(?)
It's trouble on the high seas for Germany at the striker position.
Die Mannschaft's goal scorers will need to figure something out, and fast, before their first game against the Socceroos.
Perennial superstar Miro Klose has been in torrid form as of late. His dismal club season with Bayern has carried over into World Cup preparation. Loew has publicly cemented his confidence in the 31-year-old striker, but if things don't turn around, Germany's attack could be M.I.A. in South Africa.
Cologne striker Lukas Podolski had a vanilla club season as well, but he's recently proved that he's ready to play on the big stage. He had a hand in all three goals against Malta and buried a penalty against Hungary.
However, Podolski may not be providing the offensive spark at the forward position.
Lukas is known to be played as a withdrawn striker and given more of a midfield role in a 4-5-1 formation. With Schweinsteiger facing huge expectations, expect Loew to start Podolski back at midfield quite frequently to assist Bastian in creating chances and giving his old club buddy some support. Plus, Podli's howitzer of a left foot makes him a unique asset from long ranges.
This scenario would leave one pure striker up front. Klose's in bad form and Cacau has been performing well, but I have a hard time seeing Loew inserting him into the starting lineup right off the bat.
Gomez and Kiessling have been anemic in Mannschaft uniforms. Kiessling hasn't been seeing the field much and Gomez pulling on the German kit is akin to Superman strapping on a Kryptonite vest before fighting crime.
That leaves Mueller, the young forward who actually replaced Klose during the 2009-10 Bundesliga campaign. Mueller has been on leave because of Bayern's continued success in the Champions League and has yet to develop a rapport with the rest of the starting lineup. He may be a factor later on, but for now he has to be brought up to speed.