When Joachim Löw released his roster selections for the German national team, a couple of things were noticeable right away:
- There was a strong Bayern Munich contingent.
- Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels were recalled.
- Some very notable players were going to be left home.
Let’s attempt to briefly examine what happened for those players:
- Jerome Boateng, Bayern Munich: The Bayern Munich center-back deserved a call — strictly based on his performance. It can be assumed that the versatility of players like Matthias Ginter, Marcel Halstenberg, Robin Gosens, and Lukas Klostermann — plus the inclusion of SC Freiburg’s Christian Günter and Hummels — probably pushed Boateng out of the mix. It is actually kind of hard to figure out why Boateng did not receive the call unless Löw just genuinely (and probably wrongly) felt Boateng is behind the players he chose.
- Jonathan Tah, Bayer Leverkusen: The young defender’s game has never really reached the next level — in fact, you could argue Tah has regressed a bit. Inconsistent and prone to mistakes, Tah is just not good enough. Despite being given multiple chances by Löw to prove himself, the Bayer Leverkusen man has not been able to keep his game headed in the right direction.
- Florian Wirtz, Bayern Leverkusen: Wirtz is an exceptional talent and his time will come. At this point, the 18-year-old is just the odd man out based on numbers. A conspiracy theorist might suggest that if Germany hadn’t rolled out the red carpet with every promise possible to Jamal Musiala to convince him to select Germany over England, Wirtz might have had a better chance at that slot on the roster.
- Julian Draxler, Paris Saint-Germain: One of Germany’s most versatile players, Draxler could have been a valuable back-up at several different positions. Once thought to be one of Löw’s favorite players, the PSG man has fallen off of his coach’s radar — oddly after what might have been his best season in recent memory. The inclusion of Jonas Hofmann probably sealed Draxler’s fate, though. Löw seems to be having a tough time determining when he should stick with players vs. when he should cut them loose.
- Julian Brandt, Borussia Dortmund: Brandt has great talent, but he probably regrets his decision to move to Borussia Dortmund when he did. Brandt is versatile and can play multiple roles, but his development — and confidence — took a major hit by trying to ply his trade at BVB. Lucien Favre proved to be an ill-fit for the manager spot at Dortmund and the now-ousted skipper did Brandt’s development no favors. Brandt’s inconsistent form over the past two season likely killed his chances.
- Nico Schulz, Borussia Dortmund: A speedy left-back, Schulz suffered a similar fate to Brandt as he saw his career essentially hit a roadblock at Borussia Dortmund and he has yet to recover. His lack of field time and poor form when on the field made him a non-factor for a selections. It appears Schulz’s days of suiting up for Germany are over.
- Philipp Max, PSV Eindhoven: Max was always going to be a long shot. An offensively-minded left-back, Max has never been known to have a strong focus on his defensive responsibilities, but he does bring a tantalizing offensive presence to the pitch. Based on his last appearances for Germany, it appears that Löw simply didn’t not trust Max to play both on both ends of the pitch. If Germany had any real success of late, Löw might have been able to gamble with keeping a “secret offensive weapon” as part of his backline reserves...but there is even less room for error at the Euros than any other recent competitions for Germany.
- Ridle Baku, Wolfsburg: Baku is a great young talent and looks like he could be a strong contender to be a regular for the future. It would appear that Löw simply went with more stable and experienced options along the backline. For Baku, it really is just about patience...his day will come.
- Max Kruse, Union Berlin: Kruse is a versatile and valuable player with a proven knack for creating offense. You could make a strong argument that Kruse’s production would be enhanced in working with a talented group like Germany will have around him. Certainly, Kruse would not be a starter but might have been a very nice option off of the bench. It simply just appears that Kruse is nowhere near Löw’s radar even if he probably should be. At 33-years-old, Kruse’s age probably was another big factor in keeping him off the squad, but he was one of the Bundesliga’s best offensive players this season when healthy.
- Luca Waldschmidt, Benfica: Waldschmidt’s transfer to Benfica might have killed his chances. Waldschmidt has 10 goals and four assists across all competitions for the Portuguese club, but struggled with his form at times over the course of this season — which probably gave Löw some hesitancy in selecting the 25-year-old.
- Niklas Stark, Hertha Berlin: Stark’s ability to play center-back and as a defensive midfield once made him an ideal player for Löw, but the once-promising 26-year-old has fallen on hard times and is no longer considered the solid prospect that he once was. Stark still has time to get his career back on track, but he is no longer a legitimate player in Germany’s pool at this stage.