Illness hits Germans in semis

Illness hits Germans in semis

Germany's bid to enter their maiden title round of the World League Final suffered a serious setback even before they could take the field against Australia here on Saturday after five players fell ill overnight.

Already missing the services of Timur Oruz who has returned home following an injury suffered earlier in this tournament, Germany were stretched to the limits after Martin Haner, Julius Meyer, Christopher Ruhr and Marco Miltkau failed to recover from fever. Goalkeeper Mats Grambusch, who was also ill, chose to play while reserve custodian Mark Appel came on in the 18th minute as an outfield player to lend strength.

Florian Fuchs, speaking at the mixed zone, said the team is yet to ascertain the cause of illness. "We have no idea what has happened to the five players and why they fell sick. It just happened in the early hours of Saturday. I do not know what the illness is about. I can't say now if they will be fit enough to play India (in the bronze medal play-off match) tomorrow."

Fuchs, who played a brilliant game, heaped praise on his courageous team-mates. "It's never easy to play with just 13. Kudos to all, who gave everything today. It was fantastic."

Grambusch, one of the sick players, said he's proud of his mates as well. "I cannot even feel my legs at this point in time. It was extremely difficult. The team played well despite the limitations."

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