I want to be Germany's No. 1 keeper, says Rene Adler
The position of Germany’s number one goalkeeper has been in contention ever since Stuttgart's Jens Lehmann retired after Germany lost the Euro 2008 final.
Berlin -- Goalkeeper Rene Adler insisted Wednesday he wants to make Germany's Number One shirt his own and finally settle the issue of who will be between the posts at next year's World Cup.
"I want to be number one," said 24-year-old Adler who will be in goal when Germany face World Cup 2010 hosts South Africa in Leverkusen on Saturday in a friendly.
"I know what I can do and as a sportsman you always have to aim for the highest possible goals.
"I will fight to the end to stake my claim."
Hanover's Robert Enke is coach Joachim Loew's first-choice and will be back in goal for next Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against minnows Azerbaijan in Hanover as Germany aim to stay top of their group.
Adler insists he does not want to travel to South Africa next summer as reserve goalkeeper, but no player has made the position their own since Stuttgart's Jens Lehmann retired after Germany lost the Euro 2008 final.
With five caps to his name, Adler has already shown he can do the job for his country having made his debut in the 2-1 win over Russia last October, but he made his last appearance in the 1-0 shock defeat to Norway in February.
The Bayer Leverkusen shot-stopper has the rest of the season to leapfrog Enke into the first-choice role with fierce competition between his Germany rivals Manuel Neuer from Schalke 04 and Tim Weise of Werder Bremen.
Weise was the shock omission from the squad for the South Africa and Azerbaijan games, but Adler says it shows none of the goalkeeping candidates can afford to relax.
"It is frustrating when something like this happens to you, but after you get over it you have to go full gas again," said Adler.
Adler's rival Enke was back in training with the national team in Cologne on Wednesday having shaken off the ill-effects of flu while Chelsea star and Germany captain Michael Ballack has got over a groin strain.
Having struggled to a 2-0 win over minnows Azerbaijan in Baku last month, national team manager Oliver Bierhoff says Germany must raise the tempo for the entire 90 minutes against South Africa.
"We need to play with more self-confidence," said Bierhoff.
"We must show some passion and enthusiasm over the full 90 minutes and the team have to excite the fans again.
"We need to stamp our authority on the game against smaller opposition and lead from early on."
Germany are top of their World Cup qualifier group and wins over Azerbaijan on September 9 and Russia in Moscow on October 10 will guarantee them a place at next year's World Cup.