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2014-05-29 08:23

CRASH SHOCK: Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg expressed his condolences for the victims of a crash during a vehicle demonstration in Italy on May 27 2014. Rosberg was driving one of the cars at the demo. Image: AFP/Patrik Stollarz

MILAN, Italy - Germany's World Cup squad were 'shocked' after two people were injured following a car crash involving two of its players, reports team manager Oliver Bierhoff.

German internationals Julian Draxler and Benedikt Hoewedes were passengers in vehicles driven by German Touring Car (DTM) driver Pascal Wehrlein, whose car collided with two men. Mercedes Formula 1 driver Nico Rosberg was also part of the botched vehicle demonstration.

Bierhoff said: "It was a big shock when the news came through, especially for the two players involved."


The crash at Germany's pre-World Cup training camp in northern Italy left a course steward in hospital and a bystander in a serious condition following the collision with Wehrlein’s car. The bystander was airlifted to hospital.

The course steward, named only as Michael K, suffered back, leg and elbow injuries.

Mercedes spokeswoman Claudia Merzbach said the event was neither a speed event nor was it a racing event but merely the presentation and test drive of two new vehicles.

"It was a product presentation in a closed course. Two people were injured. This was not a race but just a presentation of the two vehicles."

Schalke centre-back Hoewedes was Wehrlein's passenger in the Mercedes involved in the crash.

Hoewedes told the German Football Association (DFB) website: "Of course, the situation was a shock for me. The images will stay in my head for a long time.

"Physically I'm fine, I could train in the afternoon after it happened, we were using seatbelts. The question is more: how are those injured doing? My thoughts are with them and their families. I hope they get better soon."

Hoewedes revealed that he had helped emergency services at the scene: "I didn't do anything which anyone else wouldn't have done. To want to help in a situation like that is obvious."

Rosberg, who was driving the other Mercedes at the time of the crash, wrote on Twitter: "The accident shocked me, my thoughts are with both victims."

Bierhoff said both players had spoken to the team psychologist before training while he visited both victims in hospital along with Rosberg and Wehrlein.


Course steward Michael K. described how he spotted the bystander, thought to be a holiday-maker looking for an autograph from the German footballers, on the closed Alpine course.

The steward said: "He wanted to take a picture and also get an autograph. He wasn't on the road, but was right next to it, a few metres in front of the barrier.

"I shouted to him loudly. I wanted to pull him back, but didn't get to him in time. If it had taken two seconds longer, I would have been directly hit and I could have been killed."

Both the DFB and Mercedes are in close contact with the families of both the victims and local police chief Johann Ramoser insisted there were no safety issues with the Alpine course: "The track was safe, that I can guarantee."

The DFB are holding its 10-day training camp in the north Italian Alps which concludes on May 31 before their first World Cup match in Group G against Portugal in Salvador on June 16 2014.
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