It is just about two weeks until the World Cup and while the excitement continues to build up, a rather negative trend has been on the rise, leading to questions about the timing of the upcoming mundial.
When FIFA announced that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar would take place in December, many raised eyebrows and questioned the negative impact it could have on players, in terms of fatigue.
Those concerns are proving to be true as more and more players seem to be missing out of the competition due to injury, ahead of the November 20th kickoff. A host of stars are set to miss out in disappointing fashion and a familiar name has joined the list as well.
Germany forward Timo Werner is the latest big name to be ruled out of the World Cup in Qatar and will miss out due to an ankle injury, as confirmed by his club, RB Leipzig said on Thursday. It is a huge blow for Germany only a week before the national squad was due to be announced.
The 26-year-old came off injured in the first half of Leipzig's 4-0 Champions League group-stage win against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday after apparently taking a knock on the foot just before the 15th minute.
"This piece of news is extremely bitter," Germany coach Hansi Flick said. "I feel very bad for Timo personally because he will miss the World Cup which he desperately wanted to play in."
Werner completed a return to Leipzig this season after leaving Chelsea last summer in a bid to revive his career and boost his chances of earning a spot with the Germany national team in Qatar.
"A very tough one to take for me! I will be out for the next weeks, will miss the World Cup and will have to support RB Leipzig and Germany from the couch unfortunately," Werner wrote on his social media account. "Thanks for all your messages!"
He has netted four times in the league so far and scored nine goals in all competitions.
"But especially for the team it is a big loss. We have to make do without an outstanding striker with a high scoring ratio also for the national team and a real team player," Flick said in a statement.
Having impressed of late, Werner was expected to be part of the squad that coach Flick is due to announce on Nov. 10.
"Scans today in Leipzig showed that he has unfortunately torn the syndesmosis ligament in his left ankle and will therefore be out for the rest of 2022," RB Leipzig said in a statement.
"A decision on his treatment will be made in the coming days."
His injury is a major blow to the Germans, who have struggled for lack of consistency upfront of recent.
In Werner’s absence, Flick is now expected to call up the Bundesliga's leading scorer, Niclas Fullkrug, who plays for Werder Bremen and operates as a natural No. 9 and powerful in-the-box striker.