National team: Growing "fear" of World Cup failures: Hofmann has to worry

When Jonas Hofmann was lying on the grass with a pained face and holding his shoulder after his fall on his upper left arm, Hansi Flick and Oliver Bierhoff were equally concerned.

National team: Growing "fear" of World Cup failures: Hofmann has to worry

When Jonas Hofmann was lying on the grass with a pained face and holding his shoulder after his fall on his upper left arm, Hansi Flick and Oliver Bierhoff were equally concerned. The national soccer player somehow dragged himself through the cup from Borussia Mönchengladbach at the second division Darmstadt 98 on Tuesday evening after treatment on the pitch until the half-time break full of adrenaline.

But the day after the 1: 2, what Gladbach's coach Daniel Farke had announced immediately after the game as the result of initial examinations came true: Hofmann suffered "a shoulder joint rupture", but "without bony involvement", as Borussia announced - with the addition : The 30-year-old will be absent from Gladbach for the time being. "However, his participation in the World Cup is not in danger."

"You're always afraid of"

Bierhoff immediately contacted Hofmann on Wednesday morning. The player didn't sound confident there. "It has sounded better," said Bierhoff of the German Press Agency. Absences and injuries just before tournaments are a nightmare for players and national coaches like national coach Flick around the world. "You're always afraid that important players will be out at short notice and won't have time to get fit for the tournament," said Bierhoff. Three weeks before Flick announced the World Cup squad on November 10, he was already watching the games "with reservations".

The high number of hits with the European Cup, Bundesliga, DFB Cup and most recently the Nations League is affecting the top players in particular. Since a World Cup is embedded in the middle of the season for the first time due to the summer heat, a rock-hard program will be carried out until mid-November. Coaches like Bayern's Julian Nagelsmann are helpless: "The rhythm is what it is. It's at the expense of quality and health. It's annoying that players are out and injured."

Leroy Sané has just torn a muscle fiber in his thigh at FC Bayern. Manuel Neuer paused with a shoulder injury. Even Thomas Müller dropped out with muscular problems. The French world champion Lucas Hernández has been missing from Munich for weeks after a muscle tear. At Gladbach, Hofmann was not the only one injured in Darmstadt: Goalkeeper Yann Sommer may have gotten his ankle badly. Switzerland is now worried about its number 1.

Injured also abroad

News also came on Tuesday that France would have to defend their title in Qatar without top player N'Golo Kanté. The 31-year-old had to undergo surgery for a hamstring injury. He's been out for months. Liverpool FC reported just a few hours earlier that Diogo Jota had suffered a serious calf injury in the win against Manchester City. The 25-year-old Joto will not be able to attack for Portugal at the World Cup.

Is the accumulation of prominent failures a coincidence? In the case of offensive player Sané, for example, it was “not a classic symptom of fatigue”, reported Nagelsmann, “but a braking movement with a large amplitude in the muscles”. In any case, at the DFB they plan firmly with Sané and also Neuer for the World Cup. "At least I didn't hear any warning signs," said Bierhoff. On November 14, the national team travels first to Oman for a friendly and then to Qatar.

Flick only wants top players

A World Cup only takes place every four years - and players do everything to participate. Dortmund's unlucky tournament player Marco Reus (33) only made his comeback as a substitute on Sunday in Borussia's 2-0 defeat at Union Berlin after an ankle injury. Leverkusen's super talent Florian Wirtz (19) has not yet given up participating in the World Cup after a cruciate ligament tear. It "won't be long now," he said of his return to the game. Leipzig defender Lukas Klostermann is toiling away for his comeback after an injury and surgery on the syndesmosis ligament.

Flick had announced that without real tournament preparation, he only wanted to nominate players who were in top form and had the rhythm of the game. The clubs pay the national players and first look at their success. Bierhoff says: "You also want the players to get into a game rhythm and have a certain level of performance and security." Sparing for the World Cup? That doesn't work.

For Hofmann, who only made his debut in the national team at the age of 28, a race against time has now begun to take part in the World Cup for the first time. During last year's European Championships he was mostly injured and didn't play. Under Flick he has established himself in the DFB team. "I'm pleased with the career path he's taken with us. He's a nice, intelligent boy who, with his versatility, gives the coaches several options and who, with his game intelligence, always helps the team and has shown really great performances," said Bierhoff .

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