BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
SLOVENIA manager Srecko Katanec has joked that he has no idea whether talisman Kevin Kampl will turn up for their crunch World Cup qualifier against Scotland.
The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder, who has been linked with a summer switch to Atletico Madrid, was branded a “deserter” in an astonishing statement released by his teammates after pulling out of their fixtures against Slovakia and England last October.
Kampl, 26, stated at the time “I don’t feel good, I am exhausted. I wouldn’t have been able to help Slovenia like this and I stand by my decision”.
Slovenia went on to defeat Slovakia 2-0 and draw 0-0 with England.
He was left out of their next two squads, but the former Borussia Dortmund star has been recalled for the clash at Hampden next weekend, and Katanec insists they will discuss the situation as a group – if Kampl reports for duty.
“We have have put his name on the list – we will see if he comes,” he laughed. “In life, I am not surprised by anything, so you can never be sure.
“However, I don’t foresee any problems with the squad I have picked. When Kevin arrives he will be with the other players and they can talk about certain things – but I don’t think it will be a problem.”
Slovenia arrive in Glasgow unbeaten in Group F, four points ahead of Scotland and only two behind leaders England.
However, Katanec is adamant they will not underestimate the challenge posed by Gordon Strachan’s side after insisting damaging 3-0 defeats against Slovakia and England were deceptive.
“There is an extremely difficult game waiting for us,” he added. “I have watched the games Scotland have played and, even after analysing them, I’m still not sure how they lost 3-0 in the recent matches – that was undeserved.
“They are aggressive, have quality and create chances, and this is basically their last chance – so we expect a difficult time. We need to be ready to reach the same level as Scotland.”