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 May 6, 2002 | 1809 IST

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Deisler makes Germany's World Cup squad

Germany coach Rudi Voeller picked Sebastian Deisler in the 23-man World Cup squad he announced on Monday despite doubts about the inspirational midfielder's fitness.

Deisler, who has hardly played since last October, returned to action with his Hertha Berlin club only on Saturday.

The gifted 22-year-old, who will play for Bayern Munich next season, had just recovered from knee surgery when he tore a thigh muscle in training last month.

Voeller also called up Hertha Berlin defender Marko Rehmer, who is currently sidelined with an ankle injury, in a squad with no major surprises.

Bayern Munich midfielder Mehmet Scholl pulled out last month because he was not fully fit while Bayer Leverkusen central defender Jens Nowotny was ruled out with a knee injury sustained in last week's 1-1 draw with Manchester United that sent his team through to the Champions League final.

Several hopefuls will be left behind, among them Werder Bremen's versatile defender Frank Baumann and midfielder Lars Ricken from newly-crowned German champions Borussia Dortmund.


Bayern Munich striker Carsten Jancker was selected despite the fact that he has not scored a goal in the Bundesliga this season. TSV 1860 Munich's Martin Max, joint top scorer in the German first division with 18 goals, was left out because he has virtually no international experience.

Dortmund, who play Feyenoord in the UEFA Cup final in Rotterdam on Wednesday, and Bundesliga runners-up Bayer Leverkusen have five players each in the squad with only four from Bayern.

Bayern's Oliver Kahn, the Germany captain, is naturally the number one goalkeeper with Dortmund's Jens Lehmann and Leverkusen's Hans-Joerg Butt also on the list.

The most capped player in the group is Tottenham Hotspur wing-back Christian Ziege, who has appeared 64 times for Germany.

The oldest is Monaco striker and former Germany captain Oliver Bierhoff, 34, while the youngest are Deisler and Dortmund defenders Sebastian Kehl and Christoph Metzelder, all 22.

Elegant Leverkusen midfielder Michael Ballack, who played a key role in his side's impressive domestic and European run as well as in Germany's qualifying campaign, is arguably the most valued player in Voeller's squad.

The triple world champions will fly out to their base in Japan on May 22, nine days before the start of finals, which are being co-hosted by South Korea. They meet Cameroon, Ireland and Saudi Arabia in group E.


Goalkeepers: Oliver Kahn (Bayern Munich), Jens Lehmann (Borussia Dortmund), Hans-Joerg Butt (Bayer Leverkusen)

Defenders: Thomas Linke (Bayern Munich), Christian Woerns, Sebastian Kehl, Christoph Metzelder, Joerg Heinrich (all Borussia Dortmund), Marko Rehmer (Hertha Berlin), Christian Ziege (Tottenham Hotspur)

Midfielders: Michael Ballack, Carsten Ramelow, Bernd Schneider (all Bayer Leverkusen), Sebastian Deisler (Hertha Berlin), Torsten Frings (Werder Bremen), Jens Jeremies (Bayern Munich), Dietmar Hamann (Liverpool)

Strikers: Gerald Asamoah (Schalke 04), Oliver Bierhoff (Monaco), Oliver Neuville (Bayer Leverkusen), Carsten Jancker (Bayern Munich), Miroslav Klose (Kaiserslautern), Marco Bode (Werder Bremen)

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