Arsenal's World Cup winners to miss league opener
Arsenal's World Cup-winning Germany contingent appear certain to miss their Premier League opener.
Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker were part of Joachim Low's all-conquering squad in Brazil, but they look set to be absent for Arsenal's game against Crystal Palace on August 16.
World governing body FIFA implements a mandatory four-week break for players after the World Cup, meaning the trio will have limited training time before the Palace clash.
Manager Arsene Wenger said: "I have given them a good break because I have experience of players who have been in the World Cup Final. You need a rest.
"Will they be ready? Mertesacker prepares well - but I don't think they will be ready for August 16."
Wenger would have liked the Germans back earlier, but understands it is near impossible in a World Cup year.
"From FIFA we are obliged to give four weeks' holiday to the players, so I don't know how all that works together. It looks impossible to me," he said.
"A post-World Cup year is always very difficult for every big club because the players have been away."
Arsenal face the New York Red Bulls in a friendly on Saturday.