Slew of international injuries leaves European clubs scrambling
As Euro 2016 qualification is nearing an end, many international teams are pushing to secure a trip to France next summer. Sometimes that comes at a cost that most clubs are forced to bear.
Manchester City saw injuries to superstar attackers Sergio Aguero and David Silva, their leading goalscorer and leading chance creator, during European play yesterday. Even the deepest squad in England - which Manchester City seems to be - will struggle to replace their contributions.
They can at least rest a little more comfortably knowing they’re not the only ones.
Even just across the way, their arch rivals are dealing with an injury of their own. German midfielder and summer signing Bastian Schweinsteiger picked up a thigh injury during the warm-up before Germany’s 1-0 loss to Ireland on Thursday and could miss their match against Everton next weekend.
Defending Premier League champions Chelsea, who have sputtered to start the season, have lost both Nemanja Matic and Branislav Ivanovic for the immediate future to similar injuries. The two are important yet out of form players who individually could use some time off, but the squad will still suffer. The pair of Serbians were injured in their country’s 2-0 win over Albania, with both suffering hamstring injuries just eight minutes apart. Chelsea host Aston Villa next weekend with the Blues already bumbling in 16th place.
Other leagues have seen top players go down as well.
Paris Saint-Germain defender David Luiz felt his knee give way in Brazil’s 2-0 loss to Chile, and was immediately replaced by Marquinhos. He’s out for four weeks, which means he’ll miss a host of Ligue 1 matches plus both legs against Real Madrid in Champions League play. With the club already down starting goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, who pulled a leg muscle in club training Thursday, Luiz will now likely lean on young Marquinhos to cover for him at both the club and country level.
Bayern Munich has lost talented but oft-injured attacker Mario Gotze in the German loss to Ireland for significant time. Gotze tore a groin muscle while reaching for a ball on the touchline and will miss up to three months of play. The Bayern frontman, who has been productive in Champions League play thus far, missed much of last season with ankle trouble.
In Italy, Juventus will be forced to replace Alvaro Morata after the Spaniard’s injury was the only negative part of a 4-0 win over Luxembourg that sealed Euro 2016 qualification. There were fears that he suffered a broken bone in his leg, but instead AS reports he suffered a “traumatic injury” to the calf muscle and will still miss significant time. Juventus, often good with reporting injuries in detail, have not yet released a diagnosis. Morata started the season slowly for Juventus, but was just picking up the pace, owning a goal in each of their Champions League matches thus far and bagging a goal and two assists in a 3-1 league win over Bologna last weekend.
France saw a pair of injuries as Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema went down with a hamstring injury in their 4-0 friendly win over Albania on Thursday and will likely miss time for the La Liga giants as they get ready to face PSG in Champions League play in 11 days. Juventus could be without Paul Pogba next weekend after he sprained his ankle in the match, but the Juventus medical report says he will miss just seven days, leaving him questionable for the visit to Inter.
All this, and there are still more games to be played today, with injuries already striking before any of the matches have kicked off. Ajax, topping the table in the Eredivisie through eight games, will be sweating the fitness of goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen after the 26-year-old was injured in warmups before the Netherlands took on Kazakhstan, with Newcastle’s Tim Krul replacing him in the starting lineup. Krul then was injured during the game, coming off in the 83rd minute.