In a couple of hours’ time, Nationaltrainer Jogi Löw will announce his squad for the upcoming end of season two-match tour of the United States, which sees the team take on Ecuador in Boca Raton followed by an encounter with the United States.
All well and good, were it not for the timing – which is truly awful.
The first match takes place on 29th May – just four days after the Champions’ League final which sees the historic all-Bundesliga encounter between FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund. It is also two days before the final of the DFB-Pokal, which sees Bayern take on VfB Stuttgart.
What this means that that the squad will definitely be missing its Bayern players, which make up a fair proportion of the first choice selections – as well many from VfB that may well have supplied a number of reserves. Then there’s the BVB personnel: while the first match against Ecuador in Florida takes place on the 29th, one would expect the squad to be given some sort of decent chance to acclimatise. Coming off the back of what is promising to be a tough final, this means most if not not all of the Dortmund contingent will not be in a position to go either.
From the last squad named against Kazakhstan in March, this rules out the following:
Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern)
Jérôme Boateng (FC Bayern)
Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern)
Marcel Schmelzer (Dortmund)
Mario Götze (Dortmund)
İlkay Gündoğan (Dortmund)
Thomas Müller (FC Bayern)
Marco Reus (Dortmund)
Bastian Schweinsteiger (FC Bayern)
Mario Gómez (FC Bayern)
That’s a nice round ten players.
It doesn’t end there. With the La Liga season in Spain running until the first week of June, it also rules out the attendance of the Nationalmannschaft’s two Real Madrid stars, Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil. Then in Italy we have the fit-again Miroslav Klose – injured for the Kazakhstan double-header – lining up for SS Lazio in the Cup Final on 26th May. It’s technically possible for Klose to play in the final, recover in a day have undergo a day’s acclimatisation… But realistically it is just not going to happen.
That leaves Jogi Löw short of a baker’s dozen of players that would be certainties in any 20+ man squad.
Which all begs a number of questions. Who arranged the date for this tour? Did they not know that at least one Bundesliga side would be involved in the Champions’ League final? Did they forget that the final of the DFB-Pokal takes place slap bang in the middle of this tour? With the depleted resources, who are they going to take?
To make matters even worse, Löw cannot even throw any half-decent younger and up-and-coming players into the mix either – yes, that’s right… Just as this tour comes to an end, the Under-21s will be limbering up for the impending European Championship finals in Israel.
Chances are that we will see a nuts and bolts team wearing the Schwarz und Weiß, something that takes me back to the dismal Confederations Cup side of 1999. Perhaps the coach should send a telegram to Lothar Matthäus. Or better still just take the Under-17s…