German duo miss out on clash with Kazakhstan
Updated: Tuesday, 26 Mar 2013 13:01
Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez and Schalke defender Benedikt Howedes have both pulled out of the Germany squad for tonight's World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan.
Gomez, who missed the reverse fixture in Astana on Friday night due to a muscular injury, has failed to recover fully and has already left the national team's base near Nuremberg to return to Munich.
Howedes also has a muscular injury and has returned to Gelsenkirchen after being unable to take part in Germany's final training session this morning.
The Germany national team doctors have decided it makes more sense for them to return to their clubs for treatment rather than sit in the stands at the Frankenstadion tonight.
Losing Gomez means coach Joachim Low will once again employ the system without a recognised striker against Kazakhstan, whom they beat 3-0 on Friday.
Meanwhile, Low and general manager Oliver Bierhoff have tried to lower expectations and pressure by insisting it is "impossible" for them to win the World Cup in Brazil next year.
Germany have reached the semi-finals of the last four major tournaments and were beaten finalists at Euro 2008, yet the chances of them going one step better in South America are minimal, at least according to those guiding the team.
"For a European side, it's impossible to win a title in South America," said Bierhoff.
Low echoed those words yesterday, albeit in a far less convincing manner.
"Of course it's incredibly difficult to win and become world champions there, it's virtually impossible. Virtually." he said.
"But it was virtually impossible for Greece to become European champions in 2004.
"We will be one of the favourites, but there are also Argentina, Brazil, and some Europeans like Spain, Italy, so we should be humble.
"We are not even there yet. We will think about the tournament when the draw is made."