Germany coach Joachim Löw has sprung a surprise by including Sami Khedira in his provisional 30-man World Cup squad, even though the Real Madrid midfielder has not played for five months because of a serious knee injury.
The 27-year-old former Stuttgart star had an operation in November after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a friendly international against Italy and was not expected to feature in Brazil.
However, Khedira, who was a regular in the Germany side at the last World Cup in South Africa, has made a quicker than anticipated recovery from the serious injury and could return to action soon.
Mario Gomez will not be involved in the tournament though after the Fiorentina forward damaged ligaments in his left knee in March.
The 28-year-old, who moved to Florence from Bayern Munich last summer, had only just returned to the side after being sidelined for five months after picking up an injury against Cagliari in September.
Meanwhile, Low, who will hope to justify his side’s status this summer as among the favourites for success in the latest World Cup odds, has handed youth its chance by including two Schalke teenagers – 19-year-old Leon Goretzka and 18-year-old Max Meyer – in his squad, as well as Borussia Dortmund’s Erik Durm, Shkodran Mustafi of Sampdoria and Freiburg’s Matthias Ginter.
He said of his selection: “When picking the squad it was important for us to have the right mix of experience and carefreeness and freshness.
“Given the injuries and absences in the past few months it has not been an ideal situation for the national team. But we will rise to the challenges and we will find solutions and alternatives.”
Low has also included Hoffenheim forward Kevin Volland and the 35-year-old Lazio striker Miroslav Klose in his squad.
Klose has played in the last three World Cups, scoring five goals during the 2002 tournament, another five when he secured the Golden Boot on home soil, and four more in South Africa.