Germany's international team are currently in Russia preparing for the start of the FIFA Confederations Cup, but half-way across the world, forward Max Kruse was involved in a tournament of a different kind.
The 14-time Germany forward reached the final table of the $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Werder Bremen's Kruse started slowly on the event's first day before a strong second day at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino saw him climb to second in the overall chip count and make it to the final table.
Kruse's luck ran out on the final day of the event as he finished in fourth place after being knocked out by eventual runner-up Brendan Taylor. The event was won by Brian Brubaker, who picked up a coveted WSOP gold bracelet, as well as a cheque for $109,967.
Kruse also went home in the money, recieving $28,740 for his final position at the tournament. It is the second time the 29-year-old has reached the final table at the event, finishing third in 2014, where he won $36,494.
To date, he has won more than $120,000 from various poker tournaments, but made headlines in October 2015 after leaving $83,000 in the back of a taxi following an event in Berlin. This saw him receive a fine from Wolfsburg, his club at the time, who released a statement condemning his negligence.
"You might be a private person as a footballer when you are in your bed," the statement read.
"At any other point, you are also an employee of the club. We have explained to him what sort of behavior we expect from our players. We can only hope that he has been taught a lesson and will change his behavior."
Kruse intends to become more involved in poker when he retires from football, telling PokerNews: "Maybe later I can play more, when I'm 35-36. We can talk to each other then and maybe I'll have another career as a poker player."