Defender Lahm injured in Germany practice match

May 16, 2006

CAGLIARI, Italy, May 16 (Reuters) - World Cup hosts Germany suffered a blow on Tuesday when defender Philipp Lahm injured his elbow in a practice match against amateur club Luckenwalde and was unable to make the squad's flight to Sardinia.

The Bayern Munich full back was taken to hospital after falling hard on his arm and could not join his team mates at the start of their short training camp on the Italian island.

Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann spent much of the second half of the game, which Germany won 7-0, with Lahm in the dressing room.

'We want to make sure that it is not broken,' Andreas Koepke, Germany's goalkeeping coach, told reporters.

Lahm will join the rest of the squad at the earliest on Wednesday, the German FA said in a statement.

Lahm was racing towards the Luckenwalde goal when he tripped over a defender and landed on his left arm.

Germany were not at full throttle in the one-sided 60-minute game. Bastian Schweinsteiger scored twice, once from the penalty spot, and Gerald Asamoah, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Oliver Neuville, Miroslav Klose and Mike Hanke were also on target.

Borussia Dortmund midfielder David Odonkor, a surprise late World Cup call up by Klinsmann, looked impressive down the right wing.

'It was great fun. I knew I'd have to step on the gas and show what I can do,' said Odonkor, who runs a sub-11 second 100 metres.

Klinsmann voiced confidence in his team, saying: 'These young players will do well at the World Cup. We have a lot of talent and will grow into a united team during the next three weeks.'

Klose added: 'We've got a lot of good strikers on the team. Everyone can score goals.

'What's important is that we all work together for the same goal. If we do that, good things will happen,' he added.

Germany, who lost the 2002 World Cup final against Brazil, fly to Geneva on May 21 for a more intensive training camp running to May 30. They have official warm-up matches against Luxembourg on May 27, Japan on May 30 and Colombia on June 2.

The hosts and three-times world champions play Costa Rica, Poland and Ecuador in the World Cup's opening group phase.

Captain Michael Ballack, who signed on Monday for English Premier League champions Chelsea from German champions Bayern Munich, did not play on Tuesday.

In what may have been his last match for Germany, goalkeeper Oliver Kahn touched the ball for the first time after 18 minutes and did not have to make a save in the 30 minutes he played.

Klinsmann has named Arsenal's Jens Lehmann as his first-choice keeper for the June 9-July 9 World Cup and the 36-year-old Kahn may retire from international football after the tournament.