By Enis Koylu
During the six years that Joachim Low has been in charge of Germany, they have never had any problems going forward with prolific duo Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez leading the line. That was until Wednesday when, with the two strikers missing, they put in a limp performance against Netherlands, stuttering to a 0-0 draw.
The closest thing to a No.9 that Low had at his disposal was Lukas Podolski, but the former Stuttgart coach professed his belief that the Arsenal man is not an out-an-out frontman, and elected to use Mario Gotze as a makeshift forward.
It backfired, though, and it is now obvious that the 52-year-old is in dire need of alternatives to his first-choice strikers if his side are to emerge victorious at the 2014 World Cup.
But who are the options, and will they be good enough come Brazil? Below we analyse the possibilities.
|Stefan Kiessling, Bayer Leverkusen
While it seems like Stefan Kiessling's chances of adding to his six Germany caps may be slight, there can be no doubting the Bayer Leverkusen striker's record in 2012. The former Nurnberg man was in fine form for his club at the tail end of last season, and has picked up where he left off this term.
That nobody has scored as many Bundesliga goals as him this calendar year is a testament to the fine work that he has put in, and if he continues in this rich vein of form, it will be difficult for Low to overlook him for much longer.
|Sebastian Polter, Nurnberg
One of the great hopes of German football, Sebastian Polter has been in excellent form for his country's Under-21 side of late, leading the line as his team qualified for the 2013 European Championship with nine wins out of 10, and bagging four goals on the way.
However, he has found things far harder at club level. Having left Wolfsburg for a loan spell with Nurnberg, he has struggled to break into the starting XI, having managed just one league goal for der Club. Should he continue to develop, though, he is certainly a candidate to provide back-up for Gomez and Klose.
|Kevin Volland, Hoffenheim
A loan spell back at 1860 Munich which saw him score 15 goals in 36 second division games stood Kevin Volland in good stead, and now that he is back at Hoffenheim he has an excellent opportunity to showcase his ability at the highest level.
However, like Markus Babbel's side as a whole, the 20-year-old has had a hard time this season, having scored just one goal in 11 top-flight appearances. A positive campaign at the 2013 Under-21 European Championship, however, would go some way to convincing Low and the German public of his credentials as a potential successor to Klose and Gomez.
|Peniel Mlapa, Borussia Monchengladbach
While Peniel Mlapa's record with both Hoffenheim and Borussia Monchengladbach may be meagre, there can be no detracting from his feats with Germany Under-21s, with the Togo-born forward having scored eight goals as Rainer Adrion's side qualified for the 2013 European Championship in style.
With Luuk de Jong in the midst of a lengthy layoff, and Igor de Camargo and Mike Hanke misfiring for Lucien Favre's side, a vital period in the 21-year-old's development has come, and his quest for a place in the full Germany squad could be aided by his lanky frame, which would provide them with a different option going forward.
The long-time back-up for Klose and Gomez in Low's side, a series of poor performances for both Germany and Stuttgart have seen Cacau slip out of the Bundestrainer's plans, and the Brazil-born forward was surprisingly omitted from the final squad for Euro 2012.
Despite being largely ineffective in his recent appearances for the Nationalelf, he did pop up with the odd goal, and if he can improve his club performances, his experience could put him in pole position to make a return to the international fold despite the fact he will be 33 in Brazil.
|Samed Yesil, Liverpool
Fabio Borini's long-term injury and the general lack of depth up front at Liverpool could see Samed Yesil thrust into Brendan Rodgers' first team ahead of schedule, and some game-time in the Premier League could help him add increased physicality to his game to make him a more complete player.
His pedigree cannot be doubted - the 18-year-old netted 20 goals in 21 appearances for Germany Under-17s and eight in six for the Under-19s. His ability in front of goal will no doubt come in useful, and some time as an understudy to Klose and Gomez will certainly stand him in good stead for the future.