Germany let bruised Mesut Ozil sit out Saudi Arabia friendly
Germany’s opening match of the World Cup is on June 17 against Mexico in Moscow.
Germany will not take “unnecessary risks” with Mesut Ozil as the Arsenal midfielder looks to shake off a knee problem and be fully fit for the World Cup.
The German Football Association (DFB) said Ozil had only done running exercises during Thursday’s final training session ahead of the friendly against Saudi Arabia as he continued to recover from a “minor bruise to his left knee”.
Ozil picked up the problem during Saturday’s 2-1 defeat against Austria, and will not feature in Friday night’s last warm-up match at the BayArena in Leverkusen.
As a precaution, @MesutOzil1088 didn't take part in final training today, completing running exercises instead. He is out of #GERKSA with a minor bruise to his left knee.#DieMannschaft #ZSMMN pic.twitter.com/9iV8vl9rZD— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 7, 2018
“I didn’t take part in final team training today, but some running exercises were possible again,” Ozil said in a Twitter post on Thursday afternoon.
Ozil missed the closing games of Arsenal’s Premier League campaign due to a back injury suffered during the Europa League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid on May 3.
Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff told a press conference on Thursday that while the latest problem is “nothing dramatic”, the world champions plan to take a cautious approach ahead of the opening World Cup match against Mexico in Moscow on June 17.
“He has a bruise on his knee. We do not want to take unnecessary risks, he did sprints today,” Bierhoff said, quoted by the DFB website.
“We still have some time to go to the World Cup, it’s nothing dramatic.”
Manager Joachim Low has reduced his squad to 23 players. Manchester City winger Leroy Sane was a shock omission.
‘Die Mannschaft’ will be looking for an improved performance following the loss to Austria in Klagenfurt, which was a fifth match without a victory for Germany.
Colongne defender Jonas Hector is confident the players can produce the required display as part of final preparations before leaving their Italian training base at Eppan and heading to Russia, where Germany will be the top nation in FIFA’s latest rankings.
“We want to perform well and do better, something we did not do well last time (against Austria),” left-back Hector said.
“Everyone who stands out on the pitch wants to prove himself once more, so that is incentive enough.”