With a few hours to go until the friendly in Hamburg between Germany and Poland, here’s my projected line-up for what is effectively a C-Mannschaft. With the experienced Lars Bender now injured, the now-reduced squad of seventeen includes only ten players who are on the on the preliminary World Cup squad list of thirty – all of whom will be expected to start.
Here’s the original eighteen again:
ter Stegen, Zieler – Ginter, Günter, Höwedes, Jung, Mustafi, Rüdiger, Sorg – Arnold, L. Bender, Draxler, Goretzka, Hahn, Kramer, Meyer, Rudy – Volland
Of which the following are in the World Cup thirty:
Zieler – Ginter, Höwedes, Mustafi – L. Bender (injured), Draxler, Goretzka, Hahn, Meyer – Volland
It’s going to be an interesting experiment, and while those who are part of the preliminary squad of thirty will have plenty to prove, the others will have a chance to put themselves at the head of the queue for next season when the European Championship qualifiers start again. Of course, there will be one or two names who may well end up on the growing list of one-cap wonders.
While one would expect all of the selected players to make an appearance, the lack of cover across the key positions – particularly in defence – is a real cause for concern. As a result we may see SC Freiburg’s Christian Günter, the only specialist left-back in the squad, make a start even though he is not in the picture for Brazil. The others are either centre-backs (Matthias Ginter, Benni Höwedes, Shkodran Mustafi, Antonio Rüdiger) or right-backs (Sebastian Jung, Oliver Sorg) – though Ginter can also slot into a defensive midfield position alongside Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Christoph Kramer.
As with the first choice squad the there is an abundance of riches in the offensive midfield, which could very well be a Schalke 04 show with three of the four World Cup candidates Julian Draxler, Leon Goretzka and Max Meyer making start alongside Augsburg’s André Hahn. Up front, Kevin Volland of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim is expected to start given that he is the sole back-up to veteran Miroslav Klose in the World Cup squad. The only other definite starter should be ‘keeper Ron-Robert Zieler, on account of his being picked for the World Cup squad ahead of Marc-André ter Stegen.
So, here’s my projected starting XI based on a traditional 4-2-3-1 formation (World Cup candidates in italics):
Zieler – Sorg, Höwedes (c), Mustafi, Günter – Ginter, Kramer – Meyer, Draxler, Hahn – Volland