Robbie Kruse ... dynamic duo. Photo: Getty Images
SOCCEROOS striker Robbie Kruse will hit the ground running in Australia's upcoming friendly with Romania after netting a brace to help Fortuna Dusseldorf seal a 3-1 win against Stuttgart in the German Bundesliga.
The 24-year-old was surprisingly deployed as Dusseldorf's sole striker. The gamble paid off after just 12 minutes when he nabbed the opening goal. He was the quickest to respond to a deflected shot, and opened the scoring by calmly slotting the ball past Stuttgart keeper Sven Ulreich.
Kruse doubled his tally and the host's lead eight minutes before the break when he beat the offside trap to fire in a first-time shot from the edge of the area. He evaded his marker down the right flank with a burst of speed and hit the back of the net with a right-foot finish.
''Personally, it is always great to score two goals, but it was far more important to get the three points,'' Kruse told AFP. ''We worked together really well today and had an excellent structure in our game. We were very disappointed after the last two defeats, but we worked really hard in training last week and our reward was a great performance … I'm much happier about the team's success than about my two goals.''
Kruse will have a chance to stake his claim for a regular starting position in the Socceroos line-up when they take on Romania on Wednesday night in Spain.
His Bundesliga compatriot Nikita Rukavytsya was selected for the clash against Romania but did not take part in Mainz's 3-0 loss to Bayern Munich.
Australia's two goalkeepers had mixed fortunes in the English Premier League. Adam Federici was on hand to steer relegation-threatened Reading to a 2-1 win over Sunderland, although Mark Schwarzer could do little to prevent Fulham succumbing to a 1-0 loss to Manchester United. Aston Villa midfielder Brett Holman was a late substitute in their 3-3 draw against Everton, and was brought on in the 83rd minute. Rhys Williams played a full game for Middlesbrough but could not prevent them from a 4-0 loss away to Ipswich in the English Championship. Mile Jedinak did not play in Crystal Palace's win at home to Charlton after incurring an eye injury, and is in doubt to play against Romania. He was cleared of a long-term injury but could be rested for the Socceroos' friendly.