The DFB named its squad for the upcoming matches against France and Peru, and there were a few surprises. As far the Bayern Munich players go, however, each of the players rumored to be included were, indeed, named to the roster.
Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Niklas Süle, Joshua Kimmich, Mats Hummels, Thomas Müller, and Leon Goretzka were all included as expected. But with Mesut Özil, Mario Gomez, and Sandro Wagner all entering international retirement, it was clear that a roster shakeup was going to happen.
Marc-André ter Stegen, Matthias Ginter, Antonio Rüdiger, İlkay Gündoğan, Leroy Sané, Timo Werner, Marco Reus, Julian Brandt, Jonathan Tah, and Toni Kroos were all expected to be named to this iteration of Die Mannschaft after participating in Russia or being among the final cuts.
Nils Petersen, however, was one of those players likely on the fence. The lack of striker options since the respective retirements of Mario Gomez and Sandro Wagner is a bit scary. Wagner was so distraught after his omission from the World Cup squad that he abruptly retired, which is unfortunate because he may have had a strong case as a choice over Petersen. The SC Freiburg man didn’t exactly wow anyone in the friendlies leading up to the World Cup earlier this summer and would likely have been dropped if any other competent option was available.
Some new names
- Kai Havertz: Most interestingly, the Bayer Leverkusen 19-year old wunderkind got the call up to the senior team. Havertz is an immense attacking talent and will be joined by Die Werkself teammates Tah and Brandt. Havertz is an attacking midfielder, who may be able to float between any of the forward spots to provide a spark to the German offense. This was a move by Joachim Löw to start the evolution of the squad to a younger version.
- Thilo Kehrer: The new PSG man just left Schalke 04, but won’t be out of Germany for long. Kehrer has decent potential, but is likely going to buried on this roster behind more experienced - and frankly - better options.
- Nico Schulz: The inclusion of Schulz assuredly came at the expense of Marvin Plattenhardt, which was not a surprise. Plattenhardt was shaky during the lead up to the World Cup and never really established himself as a roster staple. Schulz, meanwhile, will back-up Hector at left back and hope to make the most of any playing time that he is afforded.
- Sami Khedira: Long considered a favorite of Löw, Khedira was one of the worst players in Russia for Germany during the World Cup. Had Sebastian Rudy not broken his nose, many think Khedira’s spot in the lineup may have been in permanent jeopardy. Dropping Khedira was a good move and only surprising because Löw finally cut ties with the Juventus man.
- Philipp Max: At 24 and an aggressive attacker from the outside back position, Max seemingly fit in to the type of player that Joachim Löw might want to call-up to see if he could provide a boost to the roster. Instead, Löw opted for Hoffenheim’s Schulz.
- Sebastian Rudy: As a defensive midfielder with great versatility appears to be lacking from the names listed, Rudy seemingly would have been a natural fit on the roster. Löw, however, must have had other ideas for how he align this squad. The shame for Rudy is that he finally would have been freed from Khedira blocking his path.
- Max Meyer: The Crystal Palace man had an ugly exit from Schalke that likely played a role in his omission. Meyer is another versatile midfielder, who could have played any centrally-based midfield position. If not for some off-the-field issues with his exit from Gelsenkirchen, Meyer may have made a strong case for himself.
Löw knew he had to try some new things to fix the issues that plagued Germany this summer. As recounted by the DFB website (DFB.de), Löw is ready to get working with this group of players:
As far as the near future is concerned, it is important that we make changes in the team. We now have to find the right mix between experienced and young, dynamic, hungry players. We have some important tasks ahead of us with the Nations League and we will prepare the team for these challenges, and with the good mix of experience and youth we will be able to get that ‘feel-good’ feeling back.
While acknowledging that changes were required, Löw felt like it was key to lean on the presence of some talented World Cup-winning veterans to help ensure Germany had a leadership base built within the roster framework:
They can now show what they did not show at the World Cup in Russia. In general, it’s our job to ignite this fire.
Certainly the squad will be out to re-establish itself as a world power, but will have its work cut out now that the aura of German dominance is no longer in the minds of Die Mannschaft’s opponents.
The team will play World Cup winner France on September 6th in Munich and against Peru on September 9th in Sinsheim.