Loew relaxed despite mounting German injuries

AFP, Monday 20 Feb 2012

Germany manager Joachim Loew has said he has a back-up plan in place for Euro 2012 despite the rising number of injuries which threaten to scupper his attempt to win June's European Championships

Joachim Loew

Germany, one of the favourites to win Euro 2012 to be hosted by Poland and the Ukraine, face France on February 29 in Bremen in Loew's final friendly before naming his 23-man squad for the tournament which starts on June 8.

Germany are bidding to win the European crown for the fourth time and have been drawn in Group B with the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark.

Loew will announce his squad for the France friendly on Wednesday and will be calling up several fringe players to cope with the mounting injuries.

Loew's first-choice midfielders Mario Goetze, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski have all been out injured for weeks, while Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker is set to miss the rest of the season with damaged ankle ligaments.

"We are prepared for all eventualities, we constantly work with a 'what if…' strategy, so that if a player is injured, we have a replacement for him," Loew told German football magazine 11Freunde.

"There are players who little is expected of before a tournament, but who come through and show unbelievable will to play really well, such as (defender) Arne Friedrich at the World Cup in South Africa."

While Bayern Munich's Schweinsteiger, Cologne's Podolski and Dortmund's Goetze are all expected back in the next few weeks and should be match fit in time for Euro 2012, Mertesacker is doubtful.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said the centre-back will be out 'long-term' after needing reconstruction surgery to fix ankle ligaments damaged during the Gunner's Premier League victory against Sunderland.

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