World Cup watch: Injury worries over Miroslav Klose and Wayne Rooney
Modern Germany great Miroslav Klose will miss at least a month with a torn thigh muscle, thus hampering his chances of going to a fourth World Cup this summer.
The Poland-born striker, 35, is tied with Gerd Muller as their record scorer, and won the Golden Boot at the finals in Germany in 2006. Klose is 33/1 to be leading marksman again in Brazil, and needs one more goal to equal Ronaldo’s haul of 15 at the finals.
He has suffered from several similar muscle problems this season and, worryingly for Joachim Low, so has the other senior Germany striker Mario Gomez. Fiorentina forward Gomez has played just 15 matches in all competitions, while Klose has managed 25 appearances for Lazio.
As both are sidelined until May, it could leave the 11/2 tournament third-favourites short of experienced options up front. Centurion Lukas Podolski can play there, but almost always operates from the left for club Arsenal.
Low could also use Bayern Munich pair Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze, or Chelsea’s Andre Schurrle as a false number nine. Stefan Kiessling of Bayer Leverkusen is the leading German scorer in the Bundesliga, but infamously fell out with the national coach.
Behind him are the uncapped on-loan Hamburg frontman Pierre-Michel Lasogga, who was called up to the Germany squad for the March friendly win over Chile, but had to withdraw injured. Borussia Monchengladbach’s Max Kruse is also in double figures.
Germany have been drawn in Group C with Ghana, Porugal and the USA. They are odds-on favourites at 1/2 to top this pool, and to reach the knockout phase at 1/8.
Manchester United manager David Moyes, meanwhile, has had to defend himself against accusations he is jeopardising England talisman Wayne Rooney’s chances of going to the World Cup.
The Red Devils and Three Lions star is struggling with a toe injury, but will play through the pain in the Champions League quarter-final second leg at Bayern Munich thanks to a course of injections.
Rooney, who is 40/1 to win the World Cup Golden Boot and 5/2 joint-favourite to be England top-scorer at the finals, missed United’s 4-0 Premier League win at Newcastle United with the problem.
“We wouldn’t do anything medically wrong,” insisted Moyes. “We take advice from our doctors and the people who advise us.
“Everybody knows the character Wayne is and the kind of player he is. He is determined to play and if he is determined we would be mad not to.”
Roy Hodgson is a 28/1 shot to take Rooney and England all the way to what would be the nation’s second global crown. They face a tough group, however, after being drawn with four-time winners Italy, Uruguay and relative football unknowns Costa Rica.
The Three Lions are third-favourites to top this pool at 2/1, and are an 8/15 chance to reach the knockout phase.