Essen, Germany: Germany midfielder Christoph Kramer will miss Tuesday's European Championship qualifier against Ireland because of illness, leaving the World Cup champions short of options for the game in Gelsenkirchen.
Kramer, who started in Saturday's 2-0 loss in Poland, has a stomach bug and fever, Germany coach Joachim Loew said Monday. Germany is already without injured midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Marco Reus.
Loew warned against the demands being placed on players, especially those involved in international competitions with their clubs. "The burden on them is too much. I reckon it's quite drastic that players only have a short time to recover and prepare after a big tournament. You notice it during a season," Loew said. "We shouldn't turn the screw too much."
The German coach said Hoffenheim's Sebastian Rudy or Borussia Dortmund defender Matthias Ginter could take Kramer's place. Rudy has three caps for Germany, while Ginter, who has struggled to establish himself in Dortmund since switching from Freiburg, has four.
"There are also more attaching options," Loew said. Bayer Leverkusen winger Karim Bellarabi, who made an encouraging debut against Poland, will start against Ireland, as will defenders Antonio Ruediger and Erik Durm.
"I'm giving them a lot of time because it was obvious that (former captain) Philipp Lahm, who was world class, could not be replaced in a day," Loew said. "I think Erik Durm has good potential in many areas, in terms of positioning and speed. Sure, there can be mistakes at the back. Toni Ruediger certainly also needs more time."
Germany has three points from two games in Group D, which is led by Poland and Ireland. Poland plays Scotland in Warsaw on Tuesday. Germany's defeat in Warsaw was its first after 18 competitive games, and its first loss in qualifying after 33 matches since a 3-0 loss at home to the Czech Republic in October 2007.
Loew expects a tough challenge from the Irish, coming off a 7-0 rout of Gibraltar in Dublin on Saturday. "They are extremely competitive," he said. "They have similar types of players to the Poles. (Robbie) Keane, with his vast experience up front, and wing players like (Aiden) McGeady are strong in one-on-ones and can always cause danger. They have six points now and have realistic hopes of being at the tournament in France."