Germany's Werner out of Northern Ireland qualifier

After being rocked by striker Mario Gomez's ankle injury, Germany received another blow as Timo Werner has been ruled out of the game against Northern Ireland with a neck injury.

Germany striker Timo Werner has been ruled out of Germany's World Cup qualifier match against Northern Ireland after he picked up a neck and spine injury.   -  Bongarts

Germany has injury woes up front for its key World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland after first-choice striker Timo Werner pulled out on Monday.

After eight straight wins, Germany needs just a point in Belfast on Thursday to be sure of a place at Russia 2018.

However, the world champion has both Werner, 21, and veteran striker Mario Gomez sidelined by injury. Gomez twisted an ankle last month while Werner is out with neck and spine problems.

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The RB Leipzig forward had complained of dizziness in last Wednesday's Champions League game at Besiktas, where the problems first emerged.

"Now is not the time to think about playing, we simply have to make sure that Timo is fit," said Leipzig's coach Ralph Hasenhuettl after Werner missed Sunday's 2-1 Bundesliga win at Cologne.

Germany's head coach Joachim Low has said he will not call up replacements. Low is likely to start either Moenchengladbach's Lars Stindl, Hoffenheim's Sandro Wagner or Manchester City's Leroy Sane up front against the Irish.

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Germany is already without world-class goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, out until January with a fractured foot. In midfield, Low is missing Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Mario Gotze, who is still below-par after having only returned in August following seven months off with a metabolic disorder.

Germany expects a tough match in Belfast, where Northern Ireland has yet to concede a goal in its four home qualifiers so far. The world champion won 2-0 when the teams met in Hanover last October.

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Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng is set to make his first appearance for more than a year. In Neuer's absence, Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen is set to keep goal.

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