Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff insists the loss of Thomas Mueller is a huge blow but the mood in the camp is good.
The Bayern Munich star was booked for handball in the quarter-final against Argentina earning him a one-match ban for the semi-final against Spain on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old has been terrific in South Africa, netting four goals and causing opposition defences problems with his late surging runs.
“In a tournament a team settles and so Thomas’s absence is a little link in the chain missing and he has been outstanding,” said Bierhoff.
However the former German international is confident that coach Joachim Loew can find a suitable replacement and the team will manage to cope with his loss.
“The most important thing is for the coach to be able to pick from all the squad except for Mueller,” added Bierhoff. “The team have reacted admirably whenever key players have been missing.”
Bierhoff also dismissed rumours of a fall-out between Michael Ballack and Philip Lahm. Lahm was appointed captain when Ballack was forced to withdraw from the squad through injury and the Bayern Munich defender revealed he does not want to lose the armband after the tournament in South Africa.
Lahm’s comments emerged as it was announced that Ballack would be leaving the Germany camp but Bierhoff insists the former Chelsea star’s departure was always planned and that all is well in the camp.
“There is no dissent whatsoever, not even a hint of conflict,” explained Bierhoff. “It’s not the case, Ballack visited the team in Sicily before the tournament and it was always agreed that he would visit for the quarter-final. It is an unfortunate coincidence that Ballack’s departure and Lahm’s statement coincided. It emerged that Michael didn’t want to take out any resources from the team. He knew that if his rehab was to proceed he needed more time from staff… he decided that it was better to continue treatment in Luxembourg.”

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