Lars Bender was on Friday ruled out of next month's World Cup after suffering a thigh injury to deepen Germany's defensive midfield woes three weeks before their Brazil 2014 campaign. The 25-year-old tore a tendon in his upper right thigh at their pre-World Cup training camp in north Italy, which he will leave on Friday, with Germany facing Portugal in their opening Group G game on 16 June in Salvador.
Germany head coach Joachim Low has opted not to replace Bender in his 26-man squad, which needs to be reduced to 23 by 2 June, but admits the loss of the Bayer Leverkusen star is a blow.
Bender's withdrawal further hampers Low's defensive midfield plans where vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is unable to train with tendinitis of the knee while Real Madrid's Sami Khedira will not join the squad until after Saturday's UEFA Champions League final and spent most of the last six month sidelined with a knee injury.
I am personally very sorry for Lars and I know he really wanted to be in Brazil.
"When a player drops out just before the start of a tournament with an injury, then it's disappointing for everyone," Low told the German Football Association (DFB) website after Bender suffered the injury on Thursday. "I am personally very sorry for Lars and I know he really wanted to be in Brazil. In terms of his performances and character he is a absolute role model."
Low is already waiting on captain Philipp Lahm (ankle) and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (shoulder) with the Bayern Munich pair receiving intensive treatment from the DFB's medical staff and are currently unable to train.