Germany coach Joachim Löw has been forced to make a last-minute change to the team he is taking to the World Cup in Brazil. Marco Reus will be staying at home after sustaining an injury in the friendly against Armenia.
Germany's 6-1 victory over Armenia on Friday night came at a high cost for coach Löw and his national team.
Speedy winger Marco Reus, who was expected to play a key role in the team's offensive set-up, sustained a partial tear of his left ankle ligament. On Saturday, the German Soccer Association (DFB) announced that due to the injury the national team would be traveling to Brazil without the Borussia Dortmund star.
Löw has nominated Sampdoria defender Shkodran Mustafi to take Reus' seat on the plane. Mustafi was among the last three cuts to the squad that Löw had announced on Monday, along with Marcel Schmelzer and Kevin Volland, to get down to the 23-man roster required for Brazil.
The decision was announced just hours after Reus went down clutching his ankle in pain just before the halftime break in Friday's match.
Out for at least six weeks
Reus was rushed to hospital and a scan revealed that he had sustained a partially torn ligament just above his left ankle. The midfielder is not expected to be able to resume training for the next six to eight weeks.
Speaking after Saturday's announcement, coach Löw acknowledged that Reus would be sorely missed in South America.
"For him and us it is extremely regrettable," Löw said. "He was in great form, and he made an excellent impression in training camp and the two games against Cameroon and Armenia," he added.
While some may have been surprised by the decision to replace the injured midfielder with a defender, Löw explained that "it wasn't a matter of replacing Marco Reus one-to-one. " He added, that Germany already had a number of other offensive options in the squad.
"I feel sorry for Marco, but of course I am happy to be there," Mustafi, Reus' replacement, told the DPA news agency.
Reus' injury cast a shadow over what was otherwise an impressive display, particularly in the second half, as Germany got goals from Andreas Schürlle, Lukas Podolski, Benedikt Hoewedes, Miroslav Klose and Mario Goetze, who scored twice, to crush Armenia 6-1. Armenia's only goal came from a penalty converted by Dortmund's Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The German team is to depart for Brazil later on Saturday.
pfd/tj (SID, dpa)