Low not concerned by captaincy as Germany bid farewell to greats

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Joachim Low has played down the importance of the role of captain as Germany prepare to bid farewell to Bastian Schweinsteiger and fellow veteran Lukas Podolski.

The experienced duo announced their retirement from international duty in the wake of Germany's run to the Euro 2016 semi-finals, having amassed a combined 249 caps.

Manchester United midfielder Schweinsteiger will say his final goodbyes when Germany host Finland in a friendly on Wednesday, and Low believes the time is right.

"Both contacted me early in August and informed me of their decision," Low told a news conference. "For them, the timing is good.

"Both have shaped the national team and become world champion. That's the greatest thing you can achieve.

"It is good that they want to again concentrate on their club teams.

"I spontaneously promised them a farewell game because both have done an incredible amount for the team and its development.

"Lukas Podolski is now unfortunately injured, but he will get his farewell match in March.

"I have worked with both players for 12 years - they have given the team so much. In Bastian and Lukas we are losing two important players, but it also opens the door for new players to get their chance."

Schweinsteiger's retirement leaves the captain's armband vacant, with Low set to announce his successor following the Finland clash.

But Low insisted his leadership committee is more important than a single figurehead, with Toni Kroos expected to be inducted to that senior group of players when Schweinsteiger departs.

"I will announce [the new captain] after the game on Thursday," added Low. "I want to talk only with the team and the players about the decision I've made.

"On Wednesday, Bastian Schweinsteiger will lead the team against Finland as captain.

"For me, the question of the captain is not so important. We have a committee and the players in it take a lot of responsibility."