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May 30, 2014

Loew plays down Germany injury fears

Sami Khedira is hoping that his return to fitness has come at the perfect time as he hopes to cement his place Joachim Loew's World Cup squad.

Germany coach Joachim Loew has moved to ease injury concerns ahead of the World Cup.

- Boateng: I'll play anywhere in the team
- Honigstein: Time running out for Germany

Amid public fears over the fitness of captain Philipp Lahm, midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, Loew told a news conference: "Everything's so sensitive these days -- when Lahm coughs, he is in danger of not making the World Cup."

Anxieties had been heightened when it was reported that Lahm had been forced to abandon a Friday morning training session after only five minutes.

The 30-year-old Bayern Munich star suffered an ankle injury in the German Cup final a fortnight ago and has been limited to individual training since.

But Loew said: "It [stopping Friday training] was only a precautionary measure. He's trained incredibly hard. It might have been a bit of overtraining, but he can work with the ball."

He said other players working to return to full fitness after knocks were making progress, explaining: "Bastian Schweinsteiger has returned to team training, Sami Khedira also, and we can assume that Manuel Neuer will be back in team training next week."

Following the announcement of the final World Cup squad on Monday and one more training session that day, the players will have two days off before meeting for their final pre-tournament friendly against Armenia next Friday.

However, Schweinsteiger, Lahm and Neuer will use the time to train in Munich, with Germany goalkeeping coach Andreas Koepke in attendance.

Loew said he was confident that Germany would be contenders to lift the trophy in Brazil, adding: "All I can do is to try and judge the reality. We have a strong, competitive team. We are among the favourites in Brazil.

"But there is only one top favourite, and that is Brazil because they are the hosts, they know the conditions, they have won the Confederations Cup and they have a good team again."

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