Chelsea target to leapfrog Arsenal forward in German pecking order?

With the abundance of attacking players at Joachim Loew's disposal, somebody has to miss out – could it be Lukas Podolski?

We in England are incredibly envious of our German counterparts – in football terms anyway. You can almost certainly count on Germany to be in the last four of a major tournament, as has been the case in the last two European Championships and the last three World Cups, despite not winning any of them.

With England struggling to produce world class talent, Germany seem to have a surplus of it, unable to fit so many star players into one line up - and this situation could force a Premier League forward to miss on the World Cup.

Lukas Podolski, who has a staggering 111 caps at the age of 28, is currently nursing a hamstring strain and has subsequently not featured for Germany since their friendly with Paraguay in August - giving a number of other players a chance to stake a claim.

Bear in mind that Loew almost always plays a 4-2-3-1 system, with Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira as a double pivot in front of the back four, leaving Ilkay Gundogan, Lars and Sven Bender and Toni Kroos to watch from the sidelines, emphasising the strength of this squad. Contending for roles outwide or as the No.10 are Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle, leaving Podolski fighting for a place in the squad.

His main nemesis right now could be Chelsea target and Schalke wonderkid Julian Draxler. The 20 year old has already racked up eight caps for the national team after scoring 13 goals for the Gelsenkirchen side last season, and his impressive start this term landed him a place in Loew's squad to face Ireland at weekend and Sweden tomorrow night.

With Arsenal and Manchester United also reportedly interested in Draxler, a move to the Premier League could be on the cards, and with Podolski now set to return for injury, he will need to make up for lost time with a strong end to the season - or risk losing his place in Germany's World Cup squad.

Ozil's arrival at the Emirates will now regularly push Santi Cazorla into a wide position, and despite Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's injury, Podolski will surely be resigned to a rotational role under Arsene Wenger this season. Serge Gnabry's emergence also threatens the available playing time for Podolski in a crucial season, but the 18 year old is unlikely to steal too many minutes from the former Bayern Munich and Koln forward.

Should Draxler continue to impress for Schalke whilst Podolski is fighting for fitness and a place in Arsenal's starting XI, it will become all the more likely that the latter loses his seat on the plane to Brazil, and the Bundesliga youngster comes in in his place.

image: © sdhansay

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