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    Germany call up Heiko Westermann for World Cup qualifiers

    Berlin: Germany coach Joachim Loew called up Hamburger SV defender Heiko Westermann to replace the injured Sven Bender for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Ireland and Sweden.

    Borussia Dortmund midfielder Bender dropped out after suffering a muscle strain in his groin and lower back area during his side's 2-0 loss to Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

    Dortmund team doctor Markus Braun examined the player Monday and suggested Bender will be sidelined for 10 days, the club said on their website.

    The 30-year-old Westermann has played 26 games for Germany. His last appearance was in a friendly against the U.S. on June 2.

    Bender's twin brother Lars has also dropped out. The Bayer Leverkusen player suffered a muscle tear in his right thigh during his side's 1-1 draw with Bayern Munich on Saturday.

    Germany would secure qualification for next year's World Cup in Brazil with a win against Ireland in Cologne on Friday, while even a draw virtually assures progress before the game against second-placed Sweden in Stockholm four days later.

    Germany lead group C by five points and enjoy a comfortably superior goal difference ahead of the final two games.