Germany will begin their pre-FIFA World Cup™ training camp on Wednesday amid injury concerns to several key players. Coach Joachim Low will gather his 27-man squad at a five-star hotel in the idyllic south Tirolean resort of St, Leonhard, where his stars will train in northern Italy for the next ten days. They play their opening Group G match against Portugal in Salvador on 16 June.
There are concerns for the Bayern Munich trio of Germany skipper Philipp Lahm (bruised ankle), vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger (inflamed knee ligament) and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer (shoulder). Low will also have to asses the fitness of Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira and Lazio striker Miroslav Klose, both of whom are short of match-fitness after long spells on the sidelines.
"With regard to the World Cup participation of Manuel and Philipp, we are optimistic but both will be treated intensively," said Low. "It is good and also important that they will be with us from the start in the Tirol, even if they won't initially be able to train."
The most serious question mark is over Schweinsteiger, who is not expected to train before the end of next week and missed Saturday's DFB Pokal final.
Germany have two friendlies - against Cameroon in Moenchengladbach on 1 June and Armenia in Mainz five days later - before flying to Brazil. Regardless of injury concerns, Low believes the situation can increase competition for places.
"I want to see players fighting for their World Cup berths," he said. "The tournament will certainly challenge all the players physically. Those who go with us to Brazil must all have top fitness and be in a good playing rhythm, that is what the training camp is all about."
The German Football Association (DFB) will also take the U-23 squad to south Tirol so that Low has quality opposition for training matches when he works on tactics.
Low must trim four names from his preliminary squad. "There will be some hard choices, but that is part of my job," he said.