Germany to burn midnight oil for final squad

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BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany will leave it until the last minute to decide which player will be cut from their final 23-man World Cup squad, team manager Oliver Bierhoff said on Tuesday.

Germany's 27-man preliminary squad has been reduced to just 24 players after captain Michael Ballack, midfielder Christian Traesch and defender Heiko Westermann were ruled out with injuries.

"We want to have the time to inform the player calmly after the last training. That will take place in the evening," he said.

Coach Joachim Loew has called the decision to drop just one player "brutal."

"This decision is indeed very difficult because simply you are sending home a player who had hopes of playing in the tournament and always dreamed of the World Cup," Bierhoff said.

Germany have been drawn alongside Serbia, Australia and Ghana in Group D.

(Writing by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Pritha Sarkar)