Klose can't stop scoring... for Germany

As Germany continued their predictable surge to the top of UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group A with victories over Turkey and Kazakhstan either side of the weekend, there were no prizes for guessing who grabbed the crucial goals.

At international level, Miroslav Klose is a goalscoring sensation. The Polish-born striker netted twice in what may yet prove to be a decisive 3-0 victory over Turkey in Berlin on Friday, before opening the scoring in the second half against Kazakhstan four days later, relieving the pressure and ushering in further strikes from Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski in another comfortable 3-0 success.

That takes Klose's international tally to 58 in 105 caps, ten short of Germany's all-time leading scorer, 'Der Bomber', Gerd Müller. The current and former FC Bayern München goalgetters are level on 14 goals apiece at FIFA World Cup finals, one behind Brazilian Ronaldo, after Klose grabbed another four in South Africa over the summer.

Few would bet against the former Werder Bremen frontman surpassing Ronaldo's record at Brazil 2014, even at the ripe old age of 36. Indeed, for any criticism levelled his way, Klose is a man in peak physical condition. It is rumoured he employs a personal fitness coach to give himself the edge over his opponents.

But the question remains: How can a player who has a ratio of over a goal every two games for his country struggle so badly at club level? Since swapping Bremen's Weserstadion for the Allianz Arena in 2006, Klose has never managed to top ten league goals in any one campaign, striking just three times in 25 Bundesliga appearances last term.

Yes, Klose did manage 20 and 21 goals in all competitions in his first two seasons at Bayern, but those totals were boosted considerably by his European exploits. With the arrival of Louis van Gaal in 2009, the 6' 0" striker has been shunted down the pecking order, registering only six times in 38 games last season. He is yet to score in the Bundesliga this term.

While the Bayern fans are hardly pining for the reinstatement of Klose to the Bavarian giants' starting XI - they did win the domestic double and reach the Champions League final largely without him last season after all - followers of the national team could barely even contemplate the notion of the aerially gifted marksman being left out of Joachim Löw's choice attack.

Klose's international partnership with Lukas Podolski (another player who has continued to set the world alight on the world stage but failed to live up to his potential in the Bundesliga) flourished at the World Cup on home soil four years ago, and his current role as the spearhead of a three-pronged attack with both Podolski and Thomas Müller has produced goals by the bucketful.

But there can certainly be no suggestion that Klose is surrounded by better players in 'Die Mannschaft'. He has two of the best wingers in the world to create for him in Munich in Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben, and if they are injured (as they often are), his regular international colleagues Müller and Toni Kroos - both of whom were playing alongside Klose against Turkey and Kazakhstan - are on hand to provide further ammunition.

One major argument in defence of Klose's domestic impotency over the past couple of years is that his game has become more about working hard for the team and creating space for others. This was certainly the case while Luca Toni was at the club, the Italian scoring almost twice that of his German colleague in the two seasons preceding van Gaal's arrival as coach. But even hard work is proving insufficient under the Dutch tactician, who prefers Croatian Ivica Olic in the role of the grafter with Klose on the bench.

So why is it that Miroslav Klose, who rates as one of the most prolific strikers on the international scene, firing blanks for Bayern?


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