Werner earns maiden Germany call-up, swansong for Podolski

Football Soccer - Germany v France - EURO 2016 - Semi Final - Stade Velodrome, Marseille, France - 7/7/16. (L-R) Germany's Sami Khedira, Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez before the game. REUTERS/Michael Dalder/Files

REUTERS - RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner received his first Germany call up for their internationals against England and Azerbaijan this month with Lukas Podolski set to end his national team career, Germany coach Joachim Loew said on Friday.

Werner has had a sensational season at promoted Leipzig, having scored 14 goals and helped them to second place behind leaders Bayern Munich.

“Werner is a young and good player with a lot of potential,” Loew said in a statement. "He is versatile and has played on a very high level this season."

Central defender Antonio Ruediger has also been recalled after he recovered from a cruciate ligament tear that ruled him out of Euro 2016 last year.

The 31-year-old Podolski, who was part of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning team, will earn his 130th cap if he plays against England, the only game of the two he has been nominated for. He had announced his international retirement last year. Podolski earned his first appearance back in 2004.

“It is great to bid goodbye to Lukas in this framework. It is a worthy departure and he fully deserves it,” Loew said.

Germany will host England in a friendly in Dortmund on March 22 before travelling to Baku for their 2018 World Cup qualifier.Germany are top of their qualifying Group C with 12 points from four matches, five ahead of Northern Ireland.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Alison Williams)