German national team coach Joachim Löw announces the preliminary squad for next month's World Cup. Injury-plagued striker Mario Gomez will not be making the trip to Brazil with the German team.
At a press conference on Thursday at the German Football Association (DFB) headquarters in Frankfurt, Joachim Löw announced Germany's preliminary World Cup squad ahead of the start of the tournament next month in Brazil. By June 2, Löw must submit a final roster of 23 players that will actually travel to the tournament.
Long-time Germany striker Mario Gomez, who has struggled with injuries all season at Fiorentina, was left out of the preliminary squad. Keeper Rene Adler, whose Hamburg squad is fighting against relegation in the Bundesliga, also missed.
Löw said Gomez's lack of fitness and playing time were the main reasons behind the striker's omission.
"I really wish for the team that Mario Gomez had been fit and that he had played in the last few months," Löw said, adding that Gomez had only played about 280 minutes since September.
Only a matter of weeks following his move to Italy, Gomez suffered injury problems when he damaged ligaments in his right-knee during a match at Cagliari. Soon after his return to training, he suffered a tear in his opposite knee.
He's only managed to feature nine times in Serie A this season, completing only two full 90 minute matches for La Viola in the league. His last appearance for the German national team came in August as a substitute in the 3-3 draw with Paraguay.
Real Madrid's Sami Khedira, who has also been plagued by injury all season, did make the cut. Löw said Khedira had constantly improved after coming back from his cruciate ligament rupture, and that the team was prepared to take a "calculated risk" in selecting the midfielder.
Poland friendly team set
Löw has also revealed the squad for a friendly against Poland in Hamburg on May 13. This roster does not include a number of players from Bundesliga sides Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, as they will be playing in the German Cup final on May 17.
However, the friendly does give Löw the opportunity to experiment with a number of younger, untested players that will be hoping to make the trip to Brazil. Kevin Volland, Erik Durm, Leon Goretzka and Max Meyer, all newcomers to the German national team, are in both the roster for the Poland game as well as the preliminary World Cup squad.
Volland, who plays for Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga, got the nod over Mönchengladbach's Max Kruse due to his strong recent form of late. Löw said Volland has seen "dramatic improvement" this season, scoring 10 goals and assisting a further 10.
Löw said he was looking forward to the match against Poland as it gave the younger players "the chance [...] at international level while the regulars aren't there." The Germany coach also stated that it was about letting these players know they belonged at the elite level with a view towards the European Championship in 2016 and the World Cup in 2018.
However, Löw may have to give more serious consideration than usual to his debutants due to injury or fitness concerns surrounding his more senior players.
In addition to Khedira, Miroslav Klose, Mats Hummels and Bastian Schweinsteiger are not in top form, something that will surely be in the back of Löw's mind as he considers the group of players he will take to the team's training camp on May 21 in South Tyrol. Not all of the 30 players Löw selected for the preliminary roster will make the cut for training camp. Löw said he would cut up to five players following the match against Poland.
Germany have two more home friendlies before they make the trip to Brazil. On June 1, they face Cameroon in Mönchengladbach. Löw will select the final 23 players that will travel to Brazil a day later, before Germany play one final friendly against Armenia on June 6 in Mainz.
Preliminary World Cup roster:
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer, Roman Weidenfeller, Ron–Robert Zieler
Defenders: Jerome Boateng, Erik Durm, Kevin Grosskreutz, Benedikt Höwedes, Mats Hummels, Marcell Jansen, Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Shkodran Mustafi, Marcel Schmelzer
Midfielders: Lars Bender, Julian Draxler, Matthias Ginter, Leon Goretzka, Mario Götze, Andre Hahn, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Max Meyer, Thomas Müller, Mesut Özil, Lukas Podolski, Marco Reus, Andre Schürrle, Bastian Schweinsteiger
Strikers: Miroslav Klose, Kevin Volland
Roster for May 13 friendly against Poland:
Goalkeepers: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Ron-Robert Zieler
Defenders: Benedikt Höwedes, Matthias Ginter, Christian Günter, Sebastian Jung, Shkodran Mustafi, Antonio Rüdiger, Oliver Sorg
Midfielders / Strikers: Maximilian Arnold, Lars Bender, Julian Draxler, Leon Goretzka, Andre Hahn, Christoph Kramer, Max Meyer, Sebastian Rudy, Kevin Volland
Porto and Zenit St. Petersburg took a small step closer to the Champions League group stage, with 1-0 away wins respectively at Lille and Standard Liege. Indeed, none of the five hosts in qualifying action managed a win.
The World Cup is a distant memory and the next Bundesliga season is set to begin. But what does Germany's success in Brazil mean for the domestic football scene? And is the Bundesliga ready to compete on the world stage?