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Leon Goretzka to miss Germany game after blow to head

November 12, 2021 GMT
Germany's Leon Goretzka, right, and Liechtenstein's Nicolas Hasler challenge for the ball during the World Cup 2022 group J qualifying soccer match between Germany and Liechtenstein in Wolfsburg, Germany, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Germany's Leon Goretzka, right, and Liechtenstein's Nicolas Hasler challenge for the ball during the World Cup 2022 group J qualifying soccer match between Germany and Liechtenstein in Wolfsburg, Germany, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Germany's Leon Goretzka, right, and Liechtenstein's Nicolas Hasler challenge for the ball during the World Cup 2022 group J qualifying soccer match between Germany and Liechtenstein in Wolfsburg, Germany, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

WOLFSBURG, Germany (AP) — Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka has been ruled out of the next World Cup qualifying game against Armenia after being struck in the face by an opponent’s foot against Liechtenstein, the team said Friday.

The Bayern Munich player was challenging for a high ball when Liechtenstein defender Jens Hofer hit him in the face with a raised foot. Hofer immediately apologized and was sent off for the dangerous challenge.

Goretzka continued to play for more than 35 minutes until halftime but Germany now says he won’t play against Armenia on Sunday because of “bruising in the head and neck area.” Germany has already qualified for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Julian Draxler is also heading back to his club. The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder was an unused substitute against Liechtenstein because of a muscle injury which kept him out of what would have been his first game for the national team since October 2020.

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Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Borussia Dortmund forward Marco Reus have been allowed to head back to their clubs to get more rest. Chelsea defender Antonio Rüdiger is suspended for the Armenia game following a yellow card against Liechtenstein.

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