Germany coach Joachim Loew concedes he is worried about the state of his team ahead of this summer’s World Cup.
The Nationalmannschaft take on Chile in a friendly on Wednesday -- Loew’s last opportunity to have a proper look at his players before he submits his provisional squad for Brazil.
However, the likes of Sami Khedira, Mats Hummels, Marco Reus Ilkay Gundogan, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Julian Draxler, Benedikt Hoewedes, Lars Bender, Sidney Sam, Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose and Max Kruse have all suffered with injuries or had problems maintaining their form in recent months.
“On paper, we have a great team,” Loew told a news conference. “But, at the moment, the reality looks different. Some players have been injured for months, and others have been struggling for form or to get into their rhythm. The clock is ticking. And only those, who hear the clock, will have a chance to make the World Cup.”
Loew added that he will need “players in top shape” if they are to make his final World Cup squad.
On May 8, before the final day of the Bundesliga, Loew will announce his provisional World Cup squad and then narrow it down at a later stage.
Loew has been given a fitness boost, though, with news that Khedira could return to Real Madrid team training in two or three weeks, following a knee injury picked up in November.
And because of his role within the Germany squad, Loew admits the midfielder could be given a call-up “even if he is only at 80 or 90 percent.”
Without Khedira for the Chile clash, Loew has confirmed he is set to play his captain Philipp Lahm in the holding midfield position, having impressed for Bayern Munich in the role this season.
The versatile Kevin Grosskreutz, meanwhile, will fill the vacant spot at right-back, with the Borussia Dortmund player returning to the Germany side for the first time after three years in the wilderness.
Loew also announced that during Germany’s World Cup training camp in St Leonhard, Italy, the U20 team will join the senior squad.
“That was an idea of [assistant coach] Hansi Flick” he said. “That allows us to simulate situations in test games every two days.”