Door opens for Klose
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Kaiserslautern marksman has made a stunning impact on the international arena with eight goals in 12 appearances.
He scored a vital winner against Albania in a qualifier on his debut and grabbed a hat-trick against Israel in a friendly in February.
A further treble against Austria in a 6-2 warm-up victory earlier this month intensified the claims for him to be handed the job of leading Germany's lukewarm front line.
With Carsten Jancker struggling for goals and Oliver Bierhoff past his peak, the goalscoring onus is starting to weigh heavily on Klose's young shoulders.
Now German coach Rudi Voller has dropped his broadest hint yet that the 23-year-old will start against Saudi Arabia on Saturday in Sapporo.
Voller said: "Klose possesses all the qualities a forward needs. He is fast, an excellent dribbler and strong in the air. He only needs to work on improving his left foot."
Bayern Munich striker Jancker is favourite to partner Klose in attack but the Kaiserslautern ace is unfazed about who will line up alongside him while also taking a swipe at his critics.
Klose said: "The critics say I am still too young and lack international experience. It is a right of journalists to write this but I am aware of my abilities.
"Jancker always gives me help on the field but I find I get on well with Bierhoff and (Oliver) Neuville even if we have not played together."