Another New Face for Gibraltar and Spain

This morning Nationaltrainer Joachim Löw would name his 23-man squad for the European Championship qualifier against minnows Gibraltar and the friendly against reigning tournament champions Spain, and amidst the familiar names and post-injury recalls there would be yet another new name, but one that would take many commentators – me included – by surprise.

After gaining promotion from the 2. Bundesliga last season 1. FC Köln have started their current campaign in the top flight in solid if somewhat unspectacular fashion, with their game being anchored to their well-drilled defensive unit. Among those is twenty-four year old left-back Jonas Hector, who earns his first international call up. Although he has clearly made an impact this season the Saarbrücken-born Hector is something of a surprising choice, given that he has never played for Germany at any level.

Hector is part of a list of eight defenders hat sees the return of World Cup ever-present Benedikt Höwedes, but on the downside Mats Hummels is absent through injury. As a specialist left-back Hector will no doubt present a challenge to current incumbent Erik Durm, whose attempt to establish himself in what has been a problematic position would result in a mixed bag in his two previous outings against Poland and the Republic of Ireland.

The midfield unit sees the welcome return of both Sami Khedira and Lars Bender who strengthens the coach’s options in the defensive field, while Marco Reus also returns to the international fold, more than making up for the absence of injured Arsenal playmaker Mesut Özil and the inconsistent Julian Draxler. Up front, Löw has widened his opens with the selection of the versatile winger-cum-striker Kevin Volland, who will be looking to add to his single cap earned in a friendly against Poland before the World Cup.

After the dismal return last month everyone will be looking for a serious performance against the group’s whipping boys, who have so far conceded seventeen goals in their three matches against the Poles, the Irish and Georgia. The friendly against Spain should be slightly more relaxed, but with momentum being the key to success and places at stake in the starting eleven there should be no letting up.


Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München, 56/0)
Roman Weidenfeller (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 4/0)
Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96, 3/0)


Jérôme Boateng (FC Bayern München, 49/0)
Erik Durm (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 5/0)
Matthias Ginter (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 5/0)
Jonas Hector (1. FC Köln, 0/0)
Benedikt Höwedes (FC Schalke 04, 30/2)
Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia CF, 4/0)
Antonio Rüdiger (VfB Stuttgart, 4/0)
Sebastian Rudy (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, 4/0)


Karim Bellarabi (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 2/0)
Lars Bender (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 17/4)
Sami Khedira (Real Madrid CF, 51/5)
Christoph Kramer (Borussia Mönchengladbach, 8/0)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid CF, 55/8)
Thomas Müller (FC Bayern München, 60/24)
Lukas Podolski (Arsenal FC, 120/47)
Marco Reus (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 23/7)
André Schürrle (Chelsea FC, 42/17)


Mario Götze (FC Bayern München, 39/12)
Max Kruse (Borussia Mönchengladbach, 8/1)
Kevin Volland (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, 1/0)

Another New Face for Gibraltar and Spain
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