Milan (dpa) – Germany and Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira has suffered torn knee ligaments and faces a race to recover in time for the World Cup finals.

Sami Khedira may miss the World Cup Finals -- photo: dpa
Sami Khedira may miss the World Cup Finals — photo: dpa

Khedira will undergo surgery after he was diagnosed Saturday with torn cruciate and interior ligaments in his right knee, the German football federation DFB said.  “This is a bitter blow for Sami and for us all,” coach Joachim Löw said.  “He is a great fighter and character on and off the pitch. He always thinks positively. That will help him and that’s why I am also optimistic that he will be fit in time for the World Cup in Brazil.”

Khedira suffered the injury in a tackle with Andrea Pirlo in the second half of the 1-1 draw in Milan Friday evening.  A knee ligament injury of this nature typically needs a recovery time of around six months, leaving Khedira little time to regain fitness ahead of the World Cup beginning on June 12.

Löw has meanwhile decided to release captain Philipp Lahm, keeper Manuel Neuer and midfielder Mesut Özil for the friendly on Tuesday against England at Wembley.  Löw said the game against England was “the last opportunity to test some variations before the World Cup” and was also a chance for other players to stake their claims in key positions.

Central defender Per Mertesacker, who missed the game against Italy as he recovered from flu, will again be available.