Lars Bender will miss the World Cup after picking up a thigh injury in Germany’s training camp in Italy.
The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder has pulled out of Joachim Löw’s 27-man provisional squad and will miss this summer’s tournament along with his brother and Borussia Dortmund defender, Sven, who was also forced out with injury.
Christoph Kramer of Borussia Mönchengladbach is expected to replace the 25 year old and claim an unlikely World Cup call up.
Bender, who had scored four times in 17 International appearances for his country, was forced out of training on Thursday evening after he picked up a “combined” muscle and tendon injury on his right thigh.
The Germany manager was saddened that the defensive midfielder will be unavailable for the tournament and is aware that this is devastating blow for a player in his prime.
“When a player is ruled out so close before a tournament then it is very disappointing for everyone,” Löw told reporters. “I feel personally very sorry for Lars because I know how much he wanted to be in Brazil.”
Preparations for the World Cup have been very shaky for Germany and have been dealt with a series of injury blows with just 24 days before their first group match against Portugal.
Ilkay Gundogan was unavailable for selection after failing to return to full fitness following a season of niggling injuries. Captain, Philipp Lahm, striker, Miroslav Klose, and goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer, have all yet to arrive in Italy after picking up knocks at the end of the season.
Bastian Schweinsteiger is currently working on his fitness for help recover from a knee inflammation and Sami Khedira has just returned following a year long absence when he picked up a cruciate ligament tear last year.
Even though Germany are ranked as their second best team in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings and are the third favourites to win the tournament, Löw’s side are plagued with problems.
In the striking department, they are very limited with the 35 year old Klose coming into his fourth World Cup on the back of an injury stricken season, Lukas Podolski is no longer the formidable force that he once was and Kevin Volland has no International experience what so ever.
Fiorentina striker, Mario Gomez, has missed out on this year’s squad as Löw opts for a wider selection in midfielders rather than a fourth forward. The former Bayern Munich striker has made just nine starts this season after failing to rediscover his form. Pierre-Michel Lasogga also misses out despite scoring 13 goals this season for SV Hamburg and scored the vital goal to save them from relegation. Max Kruse also misses out despite having made six International appearances since last year.
Germany have a difficult group contesting with Portugal, the USA and Ghana and the humid conditions could be testing for Germany who won’t be used to the climate.
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