Euro 2024 hosts Germany have been hit with fresh defensive concerns ahead of their last 16 clash, with centre-back Antonio Rudiger in doubt with a thigh injury.

The German FA (DFB) said Monday Rudiger would be in doubt for the match, against an as yet undetermined opponent in Dortmund on Saturday, from the side’s training base in the Bavarian village of Herzogenaurach.

Coach Julian Nagelsmann will need to find a new partnership in central defence, with Jonathan Tah already ruled out of the last 16 match due to a yellow card suspension.

Germany qualified first in their group having snatched a 1-1 draw with Switzerland thanks to a stoppage-time goal from Niclas Fullkrug on Sunday in Frankfurt.

Rudiger completed Sunday’s game but scans on Monday showed a tear in his right thigh. Nagelsmann said after the game the Real Madrid defender had finished the match despite an injury complaint.

Three-time Euros winners Germany are set to face whoever finishes second in Group C. England are currently first in the group on four points, followed by Denmark and Slovenia on two points and Serbia on one, with the remaining fixtures to be played on Wednesday.

Nagelsmann said before the match against Switzerland he wanted to play the same XI despite fears of a player picking up a second yellow, stating a desire to build chemistry in the side.

The coach subbed Tah out in the second half for Borussia Dortmund defender Nico Schlotterbeck.

Nagelsmann’s remaining two centre-backs Waldemar Anton and Robin Koch come off impressive seasons with Stuttgart and Eintracht Frankfurt respectively, but with only 11 caps between them are inexperienced at international level.

With AFP