PORTO SEGURO, Brazil (AP) — Inside a circle of dancers wearing native costumes, Miroslav Klose stood out as he celebrated his birthday in unusual style on Monday.
It wasn't a traditional "Happy Birthday" rendering for the Germany striker, but neither was the setting: a training pitch on an isolated patch of land on Brazil's Atlantic coast.
Klose had just finished a fast-paced training session in hot and humid conditions but he was a willing participant in the little show.
The striker turned 36 on Monday and even being in Brazil was a little surprise. Klose had said after South Africa in 2010 that he'd probably played his last World Cup.
Four years later, Klose is not only in Germany's squad, he is coach Joachim Loew's only real traditional striker, a dying breed in the Bundesliga.
Germany has produced a wealth of top-level talent in recent years, but most of them are midfielders. Foreign strikers dominate the Bundesliga and Klose himself plays in Italy, for Lazio.
Klose could break the World Cup scoring record in his fourth tournament — if he gets to play.
Loew has been favoring a "false nine" system, with attacking midfielders taking on the role of scorers. Thomas Mueller is a prime example, Mario Goetze is another. But Germany has lost Marco Reus, perhaps the most dangerous of attacking midfielders, who injured his ankle in the final warm-up match, a 6-1 romp over Armenia.
Goetz scored two goals in that match but Klose also scored and set a record. His 69th goal for Germany — in 132 matches — finally surpassed Gerd Mueller's mark of 68.
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