The much anticipated release of the roster for Germany’s national team took place this morning and it was an interesting draw to say the least. The roster includes the following players:
- Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer, Marc-André ter Stegen, Bernd Leno, Kevin Trapp
- Defenders: Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Matthias Ginter, Jonas Hector. Marvin Plattenhardt, Antonio Rüdiger, Jonathan Tah
- Midfield/Forwards: Thomas Müller, Leon Goretzka, Sebastian Rudy, Julian Brandt, Julian Draxler, Mario Gomez, İlkay Gündoğan, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Mesut Özil, Nils Petersen, Marco Reus, Leroy Sané, Timo Werner
With 27 players on the preliminary roster, four will ultimately have to be dropped by June 4th.
A total of seven current Bayern Munich players were selected with Müller, Rudy, Neuer, Boateng, Hummels, Kimmich, and Süle on the roster. Incoming transfer Goretzka is also essentially representing Die Roten. One player missing from that list, however, was Sandro Wagner, who many expected to make the squad.
The defending champions have a deep base of talent, which undoubtedly made Löw’s selections difficult.
- Nils Petersen: The SC Freiburg striker and former Bayern man was one of two surprise selections at center forward over Wagner. While Petersen had a productive Bundesliga season with 15 league goals and 19 across competitions, the 29-year-old had not garnered much talk of being placed on the preliminary roster until now.
- Mario Gomez: Gomez, an erstwhile member of Die Mannschaft, had a decent season for VfB Stuttgart (nine goals in the Bundesliga), but was considered to be on the fringe of a roster invite at best.
- Jonathan Tah: The Bayer Leverkusen central defender was another player considered to be on the cusp of being included, but has opened enough eyes to fight his way into this position.
- Kevin Trapp: While Trapp’s ultimate inclusion may depend on Neuer’s health, the Paris Saint-Germain back-up could have (should have?) been supplanted by Sven Ulreich.
- Emre Can: The Liverpool man is recovering from a back injury. Considered a favorite of Löw, however, Can is looking to heal from a back injury before a rumored transfer to Juventus and could be more seriously injured than first thought.
- Sandro Wagner: The Bayern back-up striker had a very productive season, but was one of the more surprising omissions by Löw. A contrast in style from likely starter Werner, it seemed as if Wagner would have been a good option to have on call should the smaller, yet speedier, Werner get neutralized.
- Mario Götze: Götze’s exclusion was mostly notable because of the fondness Löw has for the 25-year old. The career decline has been steep for the man who scored the World Cup winner in 2014, largely due to health and inconsistency. He was left on the bench for a full 90 minutes in Dortmund’s depressing 3-1 loss to Hoffenheim at the end of the season.
- Benjamin Henrichs: The Bayern Leverkusen right back was considered a promising contender, but he has all but lost his position at Leverkusen, and his disappointing league play most likely made him an outsider looking in.
- André Schürrle: The Borussia Dortmund forward was another player who struggled to find his form this year. After a brief resurgence when Reus returned to the BVB lineup, Schürrle slunk back into his slump, which likely prevented his inclusion here.
- Sven Ulreich: The back-up to Neuer for Bayern has a fantastic season in the Bundesliga, but a high-profile howler against Real Madrid might have bumped Trapp back ahead of Ulreich.
- Shkodran Mustafi: The Arsenal defender was considered a mainstay, but has been supplanted by the raw ability of players like Süle and Tah.
Löw and his staff have their contracts extended
In addition to the preliminary roster announcement, Germany also extended the contract of Löw through 2022.
Löw confidants Thomas Schneider, Andreas Köpke, Oliver Bierhoff, and Marus Sorg also had their respective contracts extended as well.
The anticipation heading into this World Cup is great and with four moves to make, Löw and his staff will have to not only finalize the roster, but find the combinations that work best together. With just a few weeks to go, this will only get more fascinating to watch unfold.