It is amazing what a coaching change can do.
Just months after Germany was struggling to round out its roster for the European Championships, Hansi Flick now has created competition across the squad.
While the Bayern Munich contingent appears to be set in stone for roster spots, things could go sideways for a lot of other players with high hopes to make the 2022 World Cup squad.
Noted pundit Didi Hamann selected his 23-player roster for Sky Sport and it contains a few surprises:
- Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
- Marc-Andre ter Stegen (FC Barcelona)
- Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)
- Christian Günter (SC Freiburg)
- David Raum (TSG Hoffenheim)
- Niklas Süle (FC Bayern)
- Thilo Kehrer (Paris Saint-Germain)
- Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea FC)
- Matthias Ginter (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
- Ridle Baku (VfL Wolfsburg)
- Maximilian Arnold (VfL Wolfsburg)
- Joshua Kimmich (FC Bayern Munich)
- Leon Goretzka (FC Bayern Munich)
- Florian Neuhaus (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
- Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)
- Thomas Müller (FC Bayern Munich)
- Jamal Musiala (FC Bayern)
- Leroy Sane (FC Bayern)
- Serge Gnabry (FC Bayern)
- Kai Havertz (Chelsea FC)
- Karim Adeyemi (Red Bull Salzburg)
- Lukas Nmecha (VfL Wolfsburg)
- Timo Werner (Chelsea FC)
That is a decent list, but there are certainly some issues based on some of Flick’s recent selections. Let’s start with the notable omissions:
- Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)
- Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)
- Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)
- Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
- Robin Gosens (Atalanta)
- Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig)
- Marcel Halstenberg (RB Leipzig)
- Bernd Leno (Arsenal — for now)
It is hard to imagine that Flick selects a roster without Gundogan, Hofmann, or Reus. Hummels is an interesting case because he has been injured, but I think Flick will want his experience and leadership on the bench at a minimum. Gosens, meanwhile, has been injured, but his pace and offensive ability at left-back probably intrigues Flick enough to keep him.
The availability of Klostermann and Halstenberg respectively has repeatedly been and issue and could se them permanently passed over. Bubble players like Julian Draxler and Julian Brandt likely have little chance to stick with Germany barring a rampant uptick in form.
The bottom line, though, is that five players from Hamann’s list would have to drop to make way for Hummels, Reus, Gundogan, Gosens, and Hofmann. If we had to guess today who those players would be, this would be the list:
- Baku: Filled with potential, Flick seems to favor Hofmann at right-back — a position where he can also use Süle, Kehrer, or Ginter as well. Replaced by Hofmann.
- Arnold: The Wolfsburg midfielder was the biggest surprise on Hamann’s list. It is really hard to imagine him taking Gundogan’s position on the roster. Replaced by Gundogan.
- Nmecha: A talented center-forward, Nmecha might just be caught in a numbers game given the other players available in the attack. Replaced by Reus.
- Raum: Maybe the unkindest cut just based on the available talent at left-back, it just seems like Gosens has to make the squad. Replaced by Gosens.
- Neuhaus: Another tough cut, but the Gladbach midfielder is struggling for field time with his club, has been choppy for Germany, and plays a position that already seems filled. If the choice is between Hummels and Neuhaus for that last roster spot, it seems like Flick will opt to take the veteran. Replaced by Hummels.
With about a year to go, what is your prediction for the squad?