SOCHI, Russia, June 23 – Mesut Ozil has been dropped for Germany’s must-win World Cup clash against Sweden in Sochi on Saturday.
The much-criticised Arsenal playmaker drops out as coach Joachim Loew makes four changes to the side that lost 1-0 against Mexico in the opening game of their trophy defence last weekend.
Mats Hummels is absent due to injury, while Sami Khedira and Marvin Plattenhardt are dropped as well.
Marco Reus, Jonas Hector and Bayern Munich midfielder Sebastian Rudy come into the team, as Chelsea’s Antonio Ruediger replaces Hummels in central defence.
Mexico’s 2-1 win over South Korea earlier on Saturday in the same Group F means the World Cup holders will be eliminated if they lose to the Swedes on Russia’s Black Sea coast.
A draw will leave them on the brink of being knocked out, while Sweden know a win would clinch their place in the last 16.
Sweden coach Janne Andersson welcomes back Manchester United centre-back Victor Lindelof after he missed the 1-0 victory over the Koreans due to illness.
Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group F match between Germany and Sweden in Sochi on Saturday (1800 GMT kick-off):
Manuel Neuer (capt); Joshua Kimmich, Jerome Boateng, Antonio Ruediger, Jonas Hector; Sebastian Rudy, Toni Kroos; Thomas Mueller, Marco Reus, Julian Draxler; Timo Werner
Coach: Joachim Loew (GER)
Robin Olsen; Mikael Lustig, Victor Lindelof, Andreas Granqvist (capt), Ludwig Augustinsson; Viktor Claesson, Albin Ekdal, Sebastian Larsson, Emil Forsberg; Marcus Berg, Ola Toivonen
Coach: Janne Andersson (SWE)
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)