Germany have suffered a huge blow in their preparations for the World Cup following an injury to midfielder Lars Bender.
As reported by The Guardian, the Bayer Leverkusen star will miss the World Cup having picked up a serious thigh injury in Germany’s training camp in north Italy.
The incident happened two days into the team’ preparations for the tournament, with the 25-year-old - who has scored four times in 17 appearances for Joachim Low’s side - immediately pulling out of the 27-man provisional squad.
It is understood that the midfielder - who has been recently courted by Arsenal - will go under the knife on Monday.
His bad luck follows that of twin brother Sven, - who failed to make the squad because of a leg injury - and throws the door open to unexpected call-up Christoph Kramer to claim a World Cup spot.
At this point it is unsure whether Low will call up a replacement with Bayer Leverkusen teammate Sidney Sam waiting in the wings.
54-year-old Low feels that his absence will be noticeable.
"If someone is forced to withdraw from the team this short before the start of the tournament, it's always very disappointing for all involved," Low was quoted by Goal.com.
"I feel really sorry for Lars because I know that he was determined to make it to Brazil. He is an example to follow for everybody."
Bender - who also didn’t feature in South Africa four years ago when his team-mates went on to claim third place - will now have to wait until Russia in 2018.
By this time the midfielder will be 29, with this dream also likely to be thrown into doubt considering the youth make-up of the current Germany set-up.
Low - who has picked a provisional side full of experience and youth - must now axe a further three players, with FIFA expecting the German Football Federation to have submitted their final 23-man squad for the tournament by June 2.
However, it is not all bad news for Low who set has set his sights on guiding Germany to their fourth world title with the trio of Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger expected to return to training on Friday following injuries.
Both Neuer and Lahm suffered respective shoulder and leg knocks in Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund in last Saturday’s DFB Pokal final, whilst Schweinstieger has been missing for the past three weeks with a patella tendon injury.
Midfielder Sami Khedria is also expected to feature in Germany’s north Italy training camp following his involvement for Real Madrid in Saturday’s Champions League final after returning from a cruciate knee ligament injury picked up last November.
The three-time World Cup winners have been drawn in Group G along with Portugal, the United States and Ghana.
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