World Cup: Germany right back Jerome Boateng an injury question after Saturday's draw vs. Ghana
Saturday's 2-2 draw vs. Ghana may have cost Germany in more ways than one.
The lone point means they'll have to battle for Group of Death survival in their finale against the USA and they might have to do it without regular right back Jerome Boateng, who was subbed at halftime with what German manager Joachim Low called a hip injury.
"It's dificult to say. He got hit on the hip and then the muscle was overstretched during one sprint and we substituted him because he would not have been able to play any longer," said Low, who indicated that the order to sub him out came from the team doctor.
"So I just hope that he has not pulled that muscle and over the next two days he will be able to train."
One player who is not in question for the US match is Thomas Muller, who suffered a head injury at the final whistle after colliding with a Ghanaian player's shoulder. Low says the impact only led to a cut above the eyebrow which didn't even require stitches.
And Saturday's game in Fortaleza also took a physical toll in other ways. The match at the Estadio Castelao was played at 4 pm local time in 96 percent humidity and the field and weather conditions impacted the Germans.
Low admitted that it was "impossible to run for 90 minutes and to go at such a high pace" on Saturday and that the "ground was extremely hard" which he claims made it tough on his most technical players.
"Central America with Costa Rica, Mexico, the US and the South Americans have delivered an excellent tournament so far," Low said. "Perhaps it is due to the fact that they cope with the conditions a bit better than we do. But I don't really mind it whether we play in Salvador or here today. We show we can go at a fast pace with our team and not really worry about our physical performance."
Except that Low did point out that his three central midfielders were "the most exhausted after this match," particularly Sami Khedira who "was reaching his physical limits" and had to be substituted with 20 minutes remaining.
But Low's troops will helped by the fact that they'll have an extra day of recovery compared to the Americans, who play Portugal on Sunday before the showdown with the Germans in Recife on June 26.
"The situation for us has not changed significantly," Low said. "I believe going into the last match we are still in a good position and if we win or whatever happens, with one further point we will make it to the next round."