FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Winger Lukas Podolski is doubtful for Germany’s Euro 2016 qualifiers against Ireland and Georgia over the next few days after picking up an ankle injury.
Fellow midfielder Karim Bellarabi is also being treated for a shoulder injury but could still be fit in time for Thursday’s Group D game in Dublin that could secure Germany a spot in next year’s tournament. Germany then host Georgia in Leipzig on Sunday.
“Lukas Podolski has problems with his left ankle,” team spokesman Jens Grittner said on Tuesday. “More tests will be done during the day but there is a question mark regarding his participation in the two games. But we cannot give any more detailed prognosis yet.”
The Germans have enough quality with Marco Reus, Mario Goetze, Andre Schuerrle and several others able to play in Podolski’s position, but only little time to prepare for the game on Thursday with the team having only one full training session with all the players present.
“We are a bit used to that,” said playmaker Ilkay Guendogan. “You still need a few days for everyone to reach the same level, for everyone to arrive. Someone played on Friday, others played on Sunday.
“It is a bit difficult to coordinate, but what matters is that everyone is at 100 percent when the game starts,” added the Dortmund midfielder.
Germany top their group on 19 points, two ahead of second-placed Poland and four ahead of Ireland, who are third on 15. A win or a draw would secure them a top two finish and qualification for France.
“I do not think that we will go out to play for just one point,” Guendogan said. “With our demands and our quality we want to win the game and do it as we did it in our (3-2) win against Scotland.”
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)