Updates from Sunday, July 13
Mats Hummels is fit and in the starting lineup for Germany in the World Cup final against Argentina (via Henry Winter of The Daily Telegraph):
#ger: Neuer; Lahm, Hummels, Boateng, Höwedes; Schweinsteiger, Khedira; Müller, Kroos, Özil; Klose.— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) July 13, 2014
Germany are sweating on the fitness of first-choice centre-back Mats Hummels, who is a doubt for Sunday's World Cup final against Argentina.
Oliver Todd of the Mail Online reports that the vital defender has tendonitis in his knee, the injury threatening to destroy his dream of playing in the showpiece event at the Maracana.
Todd quotes German coach Joachim Low saying to German TV:
"Everyone’s okay except for Mats Hummels and he’s getting further treatment. It’s a precautionary measure. We assume he’ll be able to play in the final."
The loss of Hummels would be a huge blow to Germany ahead of the match. The defender has had an excellent tournament so far and is a vital cog for Low and his tactical plan.
The 25-year-old Borussia Dortmund player has played in five of his country's matches at the World Cup, per WhoScored.com, scoring twice.
In the one game he missed, against Algeria, Germany were exposed frequently in a last-16 clash they really could have lost.
Hummels exited the semi-final against Brazil at half-time due to the knee problem and has admitted that he and his teammates agreed to take their foot off the gas for the remainder of the match, to spare Brazil's blushes during the 7-1 hammering.
Sports journalist Debbie Spillane tweeted about Hummels' comments:
After their stunning win against the host side, Germany will face a different type of beast against Argentina, with Gonzalo Higuain and Lionel Messi providing a world-class threat to the Europeans' back line.
They will certainly need Hummels who has excellent experience in terms of Champions League football, against the best players in the world.
And ESPN's Dermot Corrigan recently posted a tweet that shows how important Hummels is to the German set-up.
Hummels sees Howedes out of position, Maicon coming, strolls over and blocks the cross...— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) July 8, 2014
If Mats Hummels is not fully fit, should Germany play him?
Losing Hummels would be a huge setback to Low and they will be working overtime to get the player ready for the final. But if he is carrying the injury into the game on Sunday, this will be a weakness that Messi and company will surely try and exploit.
It is a double-edged sword for Germany, but they will need to gamble that the player is ready and fit.