Germany will be without one of their star attackers for their Round of 16 match against Algeria on Monday.
Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski is out with a leg injury and German head coach Joachim Low said it would be a “big risk” to let Podolski play and possibly worsen the injury but that he will be available for later games “if we manage to advance.”
Podolski, 29, has played in two of Germany’s games thus far and started in their final Group G game vs. the U.S. However after suffering the leg injury, Podolski was replaced at half time by Miroslav Klose and Podolski only played eight minutes in Germany’s 4-0 demolition of Portugal in the group stages.
Given his playing time so far, Podolski’s loss won’t impact the German side too much but he is a great option off the bench and certainly gave the U.S. plenty of problems down their right-flank in the first half in Recife on Thursday.
The Arsenal forward has played 116 times for Germany, scoring 47 goals during his international career. The Polish-born German striker has a wealth of experience in big tournaments under his belt as he has now played in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups, plus the European Championships in ’04, ’08 and ’12.
He is third all-time on the list as the most-capped German players behind Klose and Lothar Matthaus.
His impact on games may be dwindling but Podolski’s experience and ability to finish when it really matters will be hugely important to Germany if they get past Algeria and make their expected deep run towards the World Cup final.
Not risking Podolski looks like being a smart move by the German national team.