Germany players are dropping like flies.
Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka already left camp last week due to his lingering thigh injury and Nico Schulz injured his foot in Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Netherlands. Now, Manchester City midfielder İlkay Gündoğan will also miss Monday’s showdown with group leader Northern Ireland due to “stomach problems” per Bild reporter Christian Falk.
Gündoğan, who came on as a reserve against the Dutch, is currently behind Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich and Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos on the midfield depth chart for Die Mannschaft, but will be missed against Northern Ireland due to the team’s already thin ranks. Gündoğan did travel with the team to Belfast, but left and went back to England to recuperate.
Germany coach Joachim Löw used what looked like a variable 3-4-3/3-4-2-1 alignment against the Dutch and with two central midfielders down, it might be more of the same tomorrow against Northern Ireland.
Aside of Kimmich, Gündoğan represents one of the only options on the roster that Löw can use in a more defensive role. Hertha Berlin’s Niklas Stark could also fill that void, but the coach has been reluctant to use him ahead of some of the more tenured national team players. Emre Can is also on the roster, but has not been game-tested in international competition this year as of yet.