German World Cup preparations disrupted by crash
ST. LEONHARD IN PASSEIER, Italy (AP) — Germany’s World Cup preparations were disrupted when two members of the provisional squad were involved in a car accident on Tuesday.
Defender Benedikt Hoewedes and his Schalke teammate Julian Draxler were passengers in two vehicles driven by racing driver Pascal Wehrlein and Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg when the accident took place.
Two people were taken to hospital - one with serious injuries - after being struck by a car driven by Wehrlein, the dpa news agency reported.
Wehrlein and Rosberg were doing laps of a short circuit in the mountains near the German team’s hotel in South Tyrol, northern Italy, when the accident occurred. None of the players or the drivers were injured. German daily Bild reported that Hoewedes was in Wehrlein’s car.
“I am shocked by the accident,” Rosberg wrote on Twitter. “My thoughts are with the two people who were injured and I wish them a fast recovery.”
Local media reports said that a circuit marshal was one of the casualties, and that an injured man was airlifted by helicopter to Bolzano.
Italian news agency ANSA reported that the man, said by local mayor Rosmarie Pamer to be a 63-year-old German tourist, suffered various fractures but was not in a life-threatening condition. The circuit marshal’s injuries were reportedly less serious.
“A driving exercise of our partner Mercedes-Benz ended in a serious accident. To our great regret, two people were injured. They were treated immediately and brought to hospital,” German football federation spokesman Jens Grittner said.
Mercedes spokeswoman Claudia Merzbach said the company regretted the accident and would do all it could to explain it.
“We can’t provide any information about the severity of injuries at the moment. Both people are receiving medical treatment,” Merzbach said.
Germany coach Joachim Loew called off a planned training game against the German under-20 selection. The players instead took part in a private training session, with both Hoewedes and Draxler involved.