Huntelaar seeks scoring touch in Austria friendly

BY foxsports • February 8, 2011

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is hoping a return to international duty for the Netherlands in a friendly against Austria will help him rediscover a scoring touch that has deserted him at club level.

Huntelaar has not scored for Schalke in nine matches but has been in blistering form for the Netherlands since spending most of the World Cup on the bench during the team's run to the final in South Africa last year.

He is the top scorer in qualifying for the 2012 European Championship with eight goals in four matches, two more than Miroslav Klose of Germany.

Most of those goals came with Robin van Persie out injured, and the Arsenal striker will also miss Wednesday's match in Eindhoven because he has the flu.

"I'm looking forward to being back with the Netherlands team this week," Huntelaar told the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper.

The match at Philips Stadium was to have marked Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong's return from international exile. Coach Bert van Marwijk recalled De Jong to the squad for the first time since dropping him following his tackle that left Newcastle winger Hatem Ben Arfa with a broken leg in October, but De Jong injured an ankle in Manchester City's 3-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Also missing for the Netherlands is Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart with a calf injury. But Inter Milan midfielder Wesley Sneijder is available after recently returning to fitness following an injury.

"I'm fully fit, just in time," the playmaker said.

The Netherlands has a 100 percent record from its four Euro 2012 qualifiers while Austria also is undefeated so far, with two wins and a thrilling 4-4 draw with Belgium in its last match.

In-form FC Twente striker Marc Janko had hoped to line up for Austria against his club teammates Theo Janssen, Peter Wisgerhof and Luuk de Jong, who was called up Monday to replace Van Persie, but Janko will miss the match with a groin injury.

In the absence of De Jong and Van der Vaart, Janssen looks likely to start Wednesday as defensive midfielder alongside Mark van Bommel.

Austria is missing two more forwards - Stuttgart winger Martin Harnik pulled out after injuring his calf over the weekend, while Red Bull Salzburg forward Roman Wallner damaged a thigh muscle during practice on Monday.

Austria coach Dietmar Constantini called up Roman Kienast as a replacement. The Sturm Graz striker joined the team for the first time since October 2008.

"We don't have to fear the Netherlands but it's obvious they are the world's No. 2 team," Austria assistant coach Manfred Zsak said. "They are aggressive in defense, want the ball back immediately and like to attack over both wings."

Defender Emanuel Pogatetz scored his first international goal during a 3-1 loss to the Netherlands in a 2004 European Championship qualifier.

"It would be great to score again on Wednesday," said Pogatetz, who praised the opponent for their ability to keep the ball in possession.

"The Dutch do that extremely well so we must make sure we don't give away the ball too easily," added the Hannover defender, who was expected to play his 40th game for Austria. "We will have to attack them in midfield to keep them away from our penalty area."


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