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Mesut Ozil pulls out of Germany squad to face England

Nov 18, 2013, 7:35 AM EDT

Italy v Germany - International Friendly Getty Images

It’s been a difficult week for Germany manager Joaquim Low.

First, Sami Khedira went down with ruptured knee ligaments during Friday’s friendly 1-1 draw with Italy, putting a major question mark next to whether the Real Madrid man will be fit come World Cup 2014.

Next, Philipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer both hopped a plane back to Germany rather than travel on from Milan.

And now Mesut Ozil has been sent back to Arsenal after sparingly training on the lead up to the Italy match where he came on as a 59th minute substitute for Mario Gotze.

Ozil’s performance on Friday was rather tepid, raising minor concerns for Arsenal after a similarly flat performance in the 0-1 loss at Manchester United. The good news, however, is that there has been no mention of a specific injury to Ozil so as of now Low’s decision to send the playmaker home is primarily for some much needed rest.

Losing Ozil also allows Low to continue to evaluate Die Mannschaft as he looks to trim the team to 23 members. In Friday’s draw at the San Siro, Low made an incredible 14 second half substitutions.

“The England game is our last chance before the World Cup to try out one or two new tactical variations and personnel,” said Low. Neuer’s absence will see Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller earn his first cap and Per Mertesacker will join the squad after missing out against Italy with illness.