Sami Khedira – Looking ahead to the World Cup

November 15th 2013 is a date which Sami Khedira is unlikely to forget. In Germany’s friendly match against Italy the midfielder put in a challenge on the Italian playmaker Andrea Pirlo and remained on the ground.

After a closer look at the right knee, Germany’s team physician Dr. Müller-Wohlfahrt found out that the Real player had caught the injury which most footballers describe as a nightmare: A cruciate ligament rupture.

Most papers in Germany stated that Jogi Löw would have no choice but to leave Khedira out of the squad for the World Cup in Brazil due to his injury. German magazine Der Spiegel went even so far as in saying that the injury suffered by the German Sechser was a blessing in disguise because Khedira’s influence within the team had started to grow to a point where it could create a problem.

Return to football

The pessimism of the German press is well founded. Cruciate ligament ruptures often meant that footballers and other athletes had to end their career 20 or 30 years ago. These days the rehab programs and medical methods in use have given footballers the chance to return to the pitch, but the rehab and healing process is incredibly hard to predict. In some cases it takes athletes up to a year to return from this injury.

However, Khedira himself has stated on numerous occasions that he’d like to be a part of the Germany team in Brazil. The Real Madrid player told the German football magazine 11 Freunde that one of his first thoughts after he had received his diagnosis was to look ahead:

I was sad and shocked at the same time, of course. My dad was even so upset that he had tears in his eyes when I got back to the hotel. And after four months have passed it is a lot easier to talk about this, but back then I wanted immediately to look ahead. I asked Doctor Müller-Wohlfahrt if I could make it back in time for the World Cup in seven months time. His signal was clear: It’s possible, if I work properly and if the people surrounding me are good.

Four and a half months after his horrific injury Khedira was once again seen training with a football. If everything goes according to plan the former VfB Stuttgart player might be able to return to the pitch in Real’s match against CA Osasuna on April 26th. About his possible return to the Germany squad for the tournament in Brazil Khedira told kicker:

I don’t want to build up expectations, but I’m confident that I’ll participate in the World Cup whilst being in great form.

A part of Löw plans

However, it is yet to be seen if Khedira is able to reach his usual form before the World Cup. The midfielder himself is well aware of what is required of him, he told 11 Freunde:

To go Brazil with Germany it isn’t enough to be healthy. I have to be able to tell the coach: I don’t have any problems entering into a duel. I’m fit and can act quickly to perform at a top level against the best in the world.

Germany coach Jogi Löw has been in touch with the midfielder following his progress closely. Löw seems to think that Khedira’s worth for the team would justify taking him to the World Cup even if the Real Madrid player hasn’t reached his full fitness level in time, stating in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:

There are a few players who have an additional value for the team, because of their personality, even if they are at a fitness level of 80 or 90%.

The way things are looking at the moment one is certainly allowed to start hoping to see Sami Khedira at the World Cup, only seven months after a cruciate ligament rupture.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 32-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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