Bender ruled out of Germany qualifier

BERLIN - Germany will be without midfielder Sven Bender when they host Austria in a Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday after he failed to recover from a minor ankle injury, coach Joachim Low said.

The 22-year-old Borussia Dortmund player has also been ruled out of his country's September 6 friendly away to Poland.

"He picked up an ankle injury at the weekend and that now forces him to take a break, so we will have to do without him," Low told reporters on Tuesday.

Striker Mario Gomez and attacking midfielder Marco Reus have already been ruled out with injuries, joining midfielder Sami Khedira, who has also dropped out.

Germany top qualifying Group A with seven wins out of seven and a maximum 21 points. A win against the Austrians will see them through to next year's tournament, which is being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine, with two games to spare.

Loew said he would not nominate any other player for his now reduced 21-man squad.

"So we have 18 in-field player and three goalkeepers. For these two games it will suffice," Loew said.

VfB Stuttgart striker Cacau has already been called up to replace Gomez.

LAHM CONTROVERSY

Low, sitting next to smiling Germany captain Philipp Lahm during the news conference, also said team bosses had talked to the defender and cleared the air following the publication of his controversial autobiography.

In his book The Subtle Difference, Bayern Munich captain Lahm sharply criticises past coaches and players, including former Germany coach Rudi Voller and his training methods.

The publication of the book that has angered several top federation officials and coaches who said Lahm was spilling the beans on internal issues, triggered a Monday evening meeting between the player, Low and other coaching staff.

"We were confronted with the fallout from this book non-stop in the past days," Low said. "I personally told Philipp I do not think it is proper as a current player to judge coaches in public. You should not do this.

"I think this is unfortunate but we are all of the opinion that as a whole the book did not reveal any internal issues from inside the team. I hope the issue for us is now closed and we can focus on our next tasks, the important ones."

Lahm, who has since apologised for any "misunderstanding" his book may have caused, said no player on the team had a problem with what he had said.

"Obviously the last few days were not comfortable. I did not expect such a reaction. For me it is a great honour to play for Germany and I have not felt anything from the other players," Lahm said.

"The coach told me not to talk about other coaches and I will not to do this again.

"What we want to focus on now is to seal qualification and on Friday we have a huge chance at home against Austria to achieve this.

"It has never happened before that a German team wins all qualifiers. We will do everything we can on Friday to give the Austrians no chance."


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