Boateng, Neuer in race to be fit for WCup

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Jerome Boateng could miss the World Cup for Germany after suffering a thigh injury in Bayern Munich's UEFA Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, according to a report yesterday.
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Jerome Boateng could miss the World Cup for Germany after suffering a thigh injury in Bayern Munich’s UEFA Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, according to a report yesterday.

The world champion’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer also appears to be losing his battle to regain fitness in time for the finals in Russia, reports said.

Defensive lynchpin Boateng pulled up after a sprint in the first half of Wednesday’s semifinal first leg and had to be helped off the field.

According to Kicker magazine, he could be sidelined for 4-6 weeks. Germany’s first World Cup group match is on June 17.

Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes has already ruled Boateng out of the return leg of the semifinal in Madrid next Tuesday. “It’s a muscular problem for Jerome, he will drop out,” said Heynckes.

Germany head coach Joachim Loew will name his squad on May 15.

Having last played for Germany in October 2016, Neuer only resumed training with Bayern last week after 7 months out with a metatarsal fracture.

With a month of the season remaining, neither Neuer nor Bayern have been able to give a date for his return.

“I’d obviously like to help the team again, but I have to wait to see how the next steps go,” Neuer told Sport Bild.

“It’s also important what the doctors say (about) at what point I can be involved again.

“On top of that, I have to be happy with my performance level and be honest with myself. There are a lot of question marks.”

On Wednesday, England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was ruled out the World Cup after sustaining knee-ligament damage playing for Liverpool in the UCL semifinals against AS Roma.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was carried off on a stretcher in the 18th minute of the first leg at Anfield on Tuesday.

The 24-year-old midfielder was assessed by Liverpool, which said he will not return to full fitness until next season.

Not only will he potentially miss the UCL final — Liverpool beat Roma 5-2 on Tuesday — but he is also out of the World Cup, two years after being ruled out of the European Championship with a knee injury. He also suffered a knee injury shortly before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, when he was still included in England’s squad but didn’t play in any of the team’s 3 matches.

“No specific timescale is being placed upon his return to action at this stage,” Liverpool said in a statement.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has become an established member of England coach Gareth Southgate’s squad after settling well at Liverpool following his move from Arsenal during last year’s summer transfer window.

He was on course to start in England’s World Cup opener, against Tunisia on June 18.


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