Southampton defender Armel Bella-Kotchap has withdrawn from the Germany squad after suffering a shoulder injury.
The centre-back had to go off in the early moments of his side’s enthralling 3-3 draw versus Tottenham Hotspur yesterday.
He will now miss Germany’s first two international games of 2023. Die Mannschaft face Peru and Belgium over the next two weeks.
Bella-Kotchap has impressed for a dire Southampton side this season. He has arguably been their best defender when fit, showing impressive physicality.
The 21-year-old has helped the Saints keep three clean sheets in his 19 league appearances. He has won 70% of his duels since arriving in the Premier League from VFL Bochum for £9 million last summer.
Bella-Kotchap is already a German international, earning two caps in September 2022. Even if the Saints go down, there will be plenty of Premier League interest in the defender.
AC Milan’s Malick Thiaw will replace Bella-Kotchap in coach Hansi Flick’s squad. He has been stellar since his club coach Stefano Pioli reverted to a back three and brought him into the mix.
Thiaw has helped his side keep three clean sheets in his 11 Serie A appearances. He has won 68% of his duels. Just like the man he is replacing, there is a lot of talent, but they are still very raw.
The German national team being their preparations for the 2024 European Championships with games against Peru in Mainz and in Cologne against Belgium.
German players will arrive at the team’s facilities in Frankfurt this evening. They will begin preparations for the two games on Monday with a recovery session.
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