Munich - FC Bayern München centre-half has admitted that he fears he will not make the Germany squad for the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil due to ongoing injury problems.
'Things are getting better'
"Brazil is a long way off for me," the 24-year-old told German magazine Focus, having gone under the knife on four separate occasions since suffering a torn cruciate ligament on 1 December 2012 against Borussia Dortmund.
Despite being sober about his prospects for next summer's tournament, he was pleased with his recovery. "The crutches are gone," he said. "With the therapy and exercises from nine until five every day things are getting better."
Indeed, the 30-time Germany international dismissed worries that his career might be over after successive operations. "The doctors have reassured me over and over again that the knee will be back in great shape and leave no lasting damage."