Leon Goretzka sidelined as Germany host Holland
Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka will play no part in Friday’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Holland in Hamburg.
Joachim Low’s side will be without a host of key players as they bid to knock Northern Ireland off top spot on goal difference in Group C with victory at Volksparkstadion.
Leroy Sane, Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer and Antonio Rudiger have all been ruled out through injury and Bayern Munich’s Goretzka will remain sidelined after aggravating a heavy bruise while training with Low’s squad this week.
“Leon Goretzka is nursing a minor injury that has been nagging him for some time. He will not be able to play,” Low told a press conference.
“This means I have to think about other options. It is a shame really because this young team needs to play with more or less the same starting line-up over several matches.
“It’s very important for a young team to gain familiarity, but we will still go into the game with a spring in our step despite the missing players.”
Goretzka has yet to feature for Bayern in the Bundesliga this season after sustaining a dead-leg during the summer.
Germany are aiming to make it back-to-back qualifying wins against Holland following their dramatic 3-2 win in Amsterdam in March and Low has every faith in his new generation.
Bayern winger Serge Gnabry will start and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz is also expected to feature in Low’s starting line-up.
“(Gnabry) attacks the goal at speed, is good technically and moves around a lot between the lines,” Low added.
“That makes him hard to pick up. Serge is fit and will start tomorrow. With me, Serge is always going to play.”
Holland, who failed to qualify for both Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup finals, are third in Group C, six points behind Northern Ireland and Germany, but with games in hand.
The Dutch beat England 3-1 in the Nations League semi-finals in June before losing to Portugal in the final, but a second Euro qualifying defeat would leave them with plenty of ground to make up.
Holland boss Ronald Koeman however, insisted Friday’s showdown was not crucial to their chances.
“The duel with Germany is not a key match,” the former Southampton and Everton manager told a press conference.
“No, not even for the rest of the qualification. We have to get 12 points in the matches against Estonia and Belarus and be the better in the mutual duels with Northern Ireland.”