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Ozil and Khedira axed by Germany

Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira have been axed by Joachim Low for Germany's crucial World Cup showdown with Sweden in Sochi.

Germany head coach Low defended Ozil in the build-up to Saturday's Group F fixture at Fisht Stadium after the underperforming Arsenal attacker was heavily scrutinised following a shock loss to Mexico.

However, Low dropped Ozil for the game after 26 successive starts in major tournaments, with Germany's World Cup status in the balance.

Khedira was also benched following a forgettable performance against Mexico for the world champions, with Marco Reus and Sebastian Rudy named in the starting XI.

A neck injury, as expected, forced Mats Hummels out of the side, with the experienced defender replaced by Antonio Rudiger, while full-back Marvin Plattenhardt made way for Jonas Hector, who missed the Mexico loss through illness.

There was talk veteran striker Mario Gomez could join Timo Werner up front in a 4-4-2 formation but Low resisted the temptation to sway from his usual 4-3-3 system.