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Sam called up as cover in German injury crisis

GERMANY have brought in forward Sidney Sam to face Scotland after a string of absences and lack of firepower contributed to a 4-2 defeat by Argentina on Wednesday.

Schalke's Sidney Sam, left, pictured with Felipe Santana, has been called up to Germany's squad. Picture: EPA
Schalke's Sidney Sam, left, pictured with Felipe Santana, has been called up to Germany's squad. Picture: EPA

Mesut Oezil, Mats Hummels and Julian Draxler have all now been ruled out of the Euro 2016 qualifier, as the world champions continue to struggle with injuries. Oezil has failed to recover from an ankle knock picked up during Arsenal's draw with Leicester City last weekend, while Hummels has not played since the World Cup final with a thigh strain. Draxler limped off after 33 minutes of Wednesday night's defeat.

Sam, the speedy Schalke 04 striker, will increase Loew's options after Mario Gomez, back from a long injury absence that caused him to miss the triumph in Brazil, squandered three clear chances against Argentina and was jeered by his own fans.

With record goalscorer Miroslav Klose having retired from international football, Gomez was Germany's only out-and-out striker.

"You could see that a large number of our players only had a short preparation this season," Loew said. "We only had two days together as a team and on top of that we were missing a lot of players who cannot be replaced that easily. Mario was out injured for seven months and has played only one competitive game this season so far. There is no way he could already be in top form."

Jerome Boateng, the Bayern Munich defender, is also doubtful. "I hope that at least Jerome can be at our disposal against Scotland," said Loew. "But I am not worried at all. We need a bit of patience for the defence to find a good footing. On Sunday it will be a completely different game from our side."

Loew suggested that the squad might still be suffering from a World Cup hangover, but insisted that it was time to start all over again.

After their final celebration in Duesseldorf on Wednesday, where the recently retired Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose and Per Mertesacker were presented with gifts before an appreciative crowd, Loew said it was time to get back to work and get ready for the Euro 2016 qualifiers.

"It's nice to come together one last time to say farewell to all the players who are not with us anymore," Loew said. "It wasn't really possible to do that after the World Cup in Berlin. But after tonight's gathering that is going to be the end of the World Cup [celebrations]."

Per Mertesacker, though, is confident that they will use the defeat as a positive against Scotland.

The Arsenal defender, who retired from international football in the aftermath of the victory in Brazil, believes his former team-mates will rediscover their focus in time for Scotland's visit and cited the number of changes made for the manner of the loss.

"This was a wake-up call for the first qualifying matches," said Mertesacker. "This is what the team needs and it will do us good for Sunday. I know there will be a response. We committed one or two mistakes in defence and these were punished straight away.

"Many of these players had never played before so you've got to accept that, but you could see how tight things are among the world's best sides. Argentina are a world class team. Things start for us in earnest on Sunday and we've got to win then."

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