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Injury blow for Nowotny

Published: Wednesday 1 May 2002, 9.18CET
Jens Nowotny may miss the UEFA Champions League final and the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals.

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Published: Wednesday 1 May 2002, 9.18CET

Injury blow for Nowotny

Jens Nowotny may miss the UEFA Champions League final and the 2002 FIFA World Cup finals.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen face the prospect of lining up in the UEFA Champions League final against either Real Madrid CF or FC Barcelona without their inspirational captain Jens Nowotny.

Taken to hospital
The 28-year-old German international defender hurt his knee last night in the first half of the semi-final second leg against Manchester United FC at the BayArena. He fell to the ground after a challenge with Ruud van Nistelrooij and immediately looked in trouble. He was carried off on a stretcher with a suspected tear in his cruciate ligament and taken straight to hospital.

'I am very sorry'
Amid all the celebrations, Leverkusen coach Klaus Toppmöller found time to spare a thought for his stricken captain, who will undergo tests on Wednesday morning. "I am very sorry for Nowotny," he said. "His [2002 FIFA] World Cup might be over."

International woe
Germany coach Rudi Völler was in the crowd to watch Leverkusen's famous triumph, and will be particularly anxious to see whether Toppmöller's fears prove correct. Nowotny is a key man for his country and expected to play a major role in Germany's bid to win the World Cup this summer.

Key men out
Völler has already seen FC Bayern München midfield player Mehmet Scholl rule himself out of contention for Korea/Japan, while Sebastian Deisler is facing a race to recover in time for the finals in June.

Last updated: 01/05/02 13.22CET

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