Setback for Germany as Leroy Sane ruled out of World Cup opener against Japan

In-form winger unavailable due to knee injury

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Germany winger Leroy Sane has been ruled out of his side's opening match of the World Cup against Japan due to a knee injury.

The German Football Association (DFB) confirmed the Bayern Munich forward's absence via Twitter on Tuesday.

The former Manchester City winger missed training on Tuesday - Germany's final training session before Wednesday's clash at the Khalifa International Stadium.

The DFB did not give details on the nature of Sane's injury.

It is a major setback for the Germans as Sane had come into the World Cup in good form for Bayern, having scored 10 goals in 19 games in all competitions this season, along with six assists.

The remainder of manager Hansi Flick's 26-man Germany squad trained on Tuesday and are eligible for selection.

Germany enter their Group E opener knowing this game could potentially make or break their tournament hopes.

With 2010 world champions Spain awaiting next, the Germans cannot afford any slip-up against the Japanese and risk a potential early exit again.

The four-time champions will look to put the shock result of 2018 behind them, where they suffered a first-round elimination. They have since changed their coach, several players and even dropped their official monicker 'Die Mannschaft'.

Those four years since the Russian debacle - their earliest World Cup exit in more than 80 years - have been far from successful, with the Germans relegated from the Nations League in 2018 before rule changes kept them alive in the competition, and then crashing out of the Euro at the Round of 16 last year.

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Updated: November 22, 2022, 9:17 AM
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