Germany coach Hansi Flick’s quest to rebuild has been hampered once again, this time by injuries to Kai Havertz and Nico Schlotterbeck.
Flick had been hoping to establish some continuity among his key players to create a strong foundation for more important games to come, but Havertz and Schlotterbeck have dropped out of the squad for Tuesday’s friendly against Belgium after playing in the 2-0 win over Peru on Saturday.
Schlotterbeck has muscular problems in his left thigh. West Ham defender Thilo Kehrer came on for the Borussia Dortmund defender toward the end of the game against Peru and is likely to start against Belgium in Cologne. AC Milan defender Malick Thiaw is the only other potential option in Flick’s squad.
The Germany coach did not call up Real Madrid defender Antonio Rudiger or Dortmund centre-back Niklas Süle for the two friendlies, while Southampton defender Armel Bella-Kotchap is out with a shoulder injury.
Havertz, who is out with a cold, had played well against Peru behind the front two of Niclas Füllkrug and Timo Werner. Despite the absences of Bayern Munich forwards Thomas Muller and Leroy Sane, Flick has several options to replace the Chelsea player in Serge Gnabry, Mario Gotze or Leon Goretzka.
If Goretzka moves up, Emre Can would likely come in to give Joshua Kimmich more support in midfield.
Flick wanted to use the games against Peru and Belgium to learn about his players’ capabilities and build confidence after years of disappointment at major tournaments.
Germany will host next year’s European Championship.
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