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Out with the old

Swiss veteran André Rötheli will not be on the plane to Sweden Keystone Archive

Switzerland coach Ralph Krueger has dropped two of the country's most experienced players from his squad for the upcoming world championships in Sweden.

Lugano forward André Rötheli and two-time world championship contender Alain Demuth have both been omitted from Krueger’s latest line-up along with young Ambri-Piotta defender Andreas Hänni.

Rötheli’s omission was the most surprising. The 31-year-old veteran of two Olympics and three world championships has been Switzerland’s most prolific forward this season, scoring six goals and providing seven assists from 14 matches.

Defensive style

But it seems Rötheli’s flair for attack may actually have marred his world championship credentials with Krueger apparently keen to adopt a defensive style of play in Sweden.

“We want to play defensively at the world championships,” Krueger stated on Monday. “I can’t find a place for Rötheli in the world championship team that I have in mind. We’re going to need defensive leaders.”

Having already left Demuth out of his Olympic squad, Krueger said that the 22-year-old Ambri forward had not made a strong enough impression during Switzerland’s last three world championship warm-up matches.

As far as Hänni was concerned, Krueger insisted that the 23-year-old player was “a defender for the future, who’s not yet ready for international level.”

The slimmed down squad of 27 players will now take part in two final warm-up matches against Slovakia this weekend. Four more players will then have to be sent home before the final 23-strong squad leaves for Sweden on April 23.

Latest Swiss squad:

Goalkeepers: Marco Bührer (Bern), Martin Gerber (Färjestads, Sweden), Lars Weibel (Davos)

Defenders: Goran Bezina (Springfield Falcons, AHL), Patrick Fischer (Zug), Beat Gerber (Langnau), Steve Hirschi (Langnau), Martin Höhener (Kloten), Mathias Seger (Zurich Lions), Martin Steinegger (Bern), Mark Streit (Zurich Lions), Timo Helbling (Milwaukee Admirals, AHL)

Forwards: Jean-Jacques Aeschlimann (Lugano), Mattia Baldi (Zurich Lions), Loïc Burkhalter (Ambri), Flavien Conne (Lugano), Gian Marco Crameri (Zurich Lions), Björn Christen (Davos), Patric Della Rossa (Zurich Lions), Sandy Jeannin (Lugano), Thierry Paterlini (Davos), Martin Plüss (Kloten), Marc Reichert (Bern), Frédéric Rothen (Zug), Ivo Rüthemann (Bern), Adrian Wichser (Kloten), Thomas Ziegler (Bern)

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR