Germany trio out of friendly
Germany coach Joachim Low has been hit by a spate of withdrawals from his squad for Wednesday's friendly against France in Paris.
Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger pulled out on Saturday, and a trio of Borussia Dortmund players have now also been forced to turn down their invitations following yesterday's gruelling 3-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen.
Full-back Marcel Schmelzer has a twisted ankle, midfielder Mario Gotze has a virus and Marco Reus is undergoing tests to discover the extent of a groin injury, the Westphalian club announced on Monday.
Ilkay Gundogan, who also picked up an ankle injury on Sunday, will nevertheless link up with the national team later today in preparation for the trip to Paris.
Lazio striker Miroslav Klose is also rated doubtful for Wednesday's game.
Leverkusen forward Andre Schurrle is likely to be involved, though, and cannot wait.
"It is definitely going to be a cool game in Paris," he said on the website of the German Football Association (DFB).
"Games against France are always great. I can't wait."
The withdrawals raise doubts about how important a friendly is in February - a month before Germany's next World Cup qualifying matches.
However, Schurrle claims it is an important warm-up for those games and a date which Germany cannot do without if they are not to be caught cold in March.
"Of course it's an important game," he said.
"It is the first game of the new year and an important meeting. We have got to face good sides to fine-tune our movements before we get involved in World Cup qualifiers.
"Then, we are going to have to show who is the number one in the group."