• Football: Germany hoping Hummels could face Ukraine

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    EVIAN, France: Germany is hoping center-back Mats Hummels could be fit to face Ukraine when the world champions open their Euro 2016 campaign on Sunday.

    Hummels has been out since tearing his calf in the German Cup final on May 21, playing for former club Borussia Dortmund against new employers Bayern Munich, but his recovery at the Germans’ base in Evian has gone well.

    Germany’s assistant coach Thomas Schneider says a decision on whether Hummels is fit to fly to Lille with ‘die Mannschaft’ for Sunday’s match has yet to be made.

    But Hummels’ inclusion, even off the bench, would ease Germany’s woes in defense after Antonio Ruediger was ruled out of the European championship finals on Tuesday with a knee injury.

    “Things look good for Mats, he trained for an hour on his own yesterday and he can take part in full team training now,” said Schneider in Friday’s news conference. “He will talk to (head coach) Joachim Loew and then a decision will be made whether he comes to the game or he stays back and works here.”

    Hummels, 27, has won 46 caps for Germany and was a key member of the side which won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

    Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is set to only start on the bench against Ukraine, having played just 23 minutes of football since the end of March after tearing a knee ligament.

    The Manchester United star came off the bench at the end of Germany’s warm-up friendly win over Hungary last Saturday, but Schneider says their 31-year-old midfield general is fit.

    “In any case, Basti is fit,” said the Germany coach. “As a bloke, he is extremely important for us and is on a very good path.”

    Should Schweinsteiger miss out, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and midfielder Sami Khedira are the main candidates to captain the world champions.

    Ruediger’s withdrawal means Loew has had to reshuffle his defense and Schneider revealed the Germans were considering playing with a back four or a three-man defense.

    “We have made a decision, but I won’t say which formation it will be and the starting team has already been decided,” he added.

    Germany also face Poland next Thursday at the Stade de France, then Northern Ireland in Paris on June 21 in Group C. AFP

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