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Nov 5, 2012

Kehl joins injury list

Sebastian Kehl became the latest Borussia Dortmund player to pick up a facial injury after being elbowed by Stuttgart midfielder Raphael Holzhauser during the side's goalless draw on Saturday.

Referee Felix Zwayer only handed Holzhauser, 19, a yellow card, despite his elbow smashing directly into Kehl's face after 18 minutes. "I did not see him. That was not on purpose," the Stuttgart midfielder said after the match. Dortmund defender Mats Hummels was in forgiving mood, adding: "That was bad luck, an unfortunate situation."

But not everyone reacted as calmly as Hummels. Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp - who over the past year lost Subotic with multiple facial fractures, Sven Bender twice with a broken jaw and severe bruises to his face, as well as Kehl twice with a bruised eyeball and now a broken nose - was visibly angered, asking the fourth official for a red card and arguing with Stuttgart general manager Fredi Bobic.

"Klopp must calm down, he can't control himself," Bobic said after the match. "Raphael is uncontrolled and out of balance in that situation." Klopp refused to comment on the situation, saying: "There seem to be different opinions on the incident so I really don't have to give mine."

Speaking to Sky former FIFA referee Dr. Markus Merk had an opinion. "The refs are instructed to protect the players' health. It was a clear hit with the elbow – that is decisive," he said. "It should have been a red card, also to prevent things like that happening in the future."

After numerous facial injuries to players at Dortmund and other clubs last season referees were instructed to clamp down on such incidents.

Dortmund CEO Aki Watzke told Die Welt: "I am amazed that it frequently happens to us. Maybe they want to throw us out of our rhythm with hardship - I don't know. It is striking that injuries to the face have become more frequent."

Dortmund could not retain their rhythm against Stuttgart, with Kehl's replacement Moritz Leitner's more attacking approach to the position taking Germany international Ilkay Gundogan out of the creative role. Stuttgart held Dortmund to a deserved draw, the first time Dortmund had not scored at home in 29 matches.

"This draw feels like a loss," Klopp lamented afterwards. But he could still rely on the help of Kehl in Tuesday's Champions League clash with Real. The Dortmund skipper will be boarding the flight and could play with a special mask guarding his face and nose.

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