Many people were surprised at some of the team selections when Germany coach Hansi Flick announced his 26-man squad, but none more than the omission of Borussia Dortmund center back Mats Hummels. The 33-year-old veteran was seen as the stable presence in what was an otherwise young back line, and that his experience and calmness (bar the Gladbach game) was key.
Former club teammate and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said that he would’ve loved to have Hummels in the team, but the coach has the final say and they can’t really contest it. “I’ve known Mats for a long time, I like playing with him, but the coach makes the decisions”, Neuer said (as captured by Twitter account @iMiaSanMia).
The decision to skip Hummels and include the likes of Southampton’s Armel Bella-Kotchap and West Ham’s Thilo Kehrer (hooray…) was based on Flick’s philosophy of transitioning to the youth. That notion came from the complaints directed at his predecessor Joachim Löw for sticking with older players when Die Mannschaft have better players at their disposal. How will Flick manage with his current crop of defenders? We’ll see soon enough.