On Friday the worst was feared; by Saturday morning the news was confirmed.
Germany forward Marco Reus will miss the World Cup after suffering an ankle ligament injury in an innocuous challenge during Friday's friendly victory over Armenia. Sampdoria defender Shkodran Mustafi has been called up as Reus' replacement by coach Joachim Loew.
"For him and for us this is extremely regrettable," Loew said in a statement published on the German national team website (via FourFourTwo). "Marco was in great shape, he had left an excellent impression in training camp and in the two games against Cameroon and Armenia.
"In our considerations for Brazil he played a central role."
Reus' presence in the squad was pointed as one reason why Germany could afford to only call up one recognised out-and-out striker, the veteran Miroslav Klose. But without the Borussia Dortmund talisman to rely on, the pressure will now increase on Klose, along with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller and Reus' most likely replacement: Lukas Podolski.
With concerns over the form and fitness of a number of players—Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira, Ozil—the loss of Reus is another issue Germany could have done without.
"I think he’s the best player Germany have," as B/R guest columnist Dietmar Hamann wrote on Friday. "Without a recognised forward a lot of responsibility will be on him."
Now someone else will have to shoulder that responsibility. Podolski will likely step in to Loew's side down the left, but he lacks the same threat as Reus and, considering they are in a group with Portugal, Ghana and USA, may now wonder how easily they will be able to break those sides down.
Germany still have a number of very talented players but, as arguably the most damaged of all the top contenders going into the tournament, this has the feeling of a hammer blow to their overall chances.
Just how big a blow to Germany's chances is the loss of Reus? Have your say below.
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