Kicker has just published its starting XI for the upcoming match against Turkey, and I still have to wonder where they get some of their ideas from. While nearly everybody else seems to have selected a back line of Badstuber, Boateng, Hummels and Lahm the “experts” have gone for something completely different.
Clearly some people have not even been watching the team for the last six months: Mats Hummels has been the great find at the back, and Jérôme Boateng has improved in leaps and bounds since joining Bayern this season; along with Holger Badstuber and Philipp Lahm, Boateng has been part of a Bayern defence that has gone ten games without even conceding a goal. Yet who do the folks at Kicker pick?
That’s right, a man who had been out injured for a long while and whose comeback against Poland last month was something approaching a disaster. They might have well have stuck Christian Träsch at right-back again.
There’s no difference in mine and Kicker’s lineups ahead of the back four, but that’s just sheer coincidence more than anything else: while this month I have picked Lukas Podolski to occupy the left midfield position on current form, Kicker would have selected him regardless.
Here’s their XI:
Neuer – Höwedes, Mertesacker, Badstuber, Lahm – Schweinsteiger, Khedira – Müller, Özil, Podolski – Klose
Now to another issue, that of Germany’s young Turks. This issue is one that will continue to drag on, and something just needs to be done about it. I am started to get more than slightly irritated at young players who would run out in the Schwarz und Weiß at youth level, only to toddle off elsewhere when the motherland comes calling. If their heart lies with Turkey – or whatever other guff they choose to justify such actions with – just bugger off and play for the Turkish Under-17s without making use of the DFB’s money, facilities and more importantly the German national shirt.
There are more than half a dozen young stars from the Under-17 squad, and already we have seen the Turkish FA sniffing about with the aim of poaching them in time for the Euros.
It’s about time the powers that be set down some strict rules regarding nationality, namely that if a player chooses one national team at any level he or she is bound to that team – and can only switch after a fixed cooling-off period. Such a rule would get rid of the fly-by-nights and those individuals that feel a sudden passion for their country – a feeling more often than not brought about by little more than an impatience to play at full international level.
Of course, we need to judge each case by their merits: in the case of the Altintop brothers I have no issue – none of them ever played for Germany at any level, and Halil even played for the Turkish youth sides before making the full squad. Fair enough, the “passion” for Turkey was clearly there. The same also applies to Nuri Şahin, who first pulled on the shirt with the white star and crescent moon at Under-16 level.
In contrast we have the likes of Mehmet Ekici and Ömer Toprak, both of whom chose to play for Germany when it suited them – and right now the Turkish FA are hunting the likes of Emre Can, Levent Ayçiçek, Koray Günter, Okan Aydin and the jewel in Germany’s youth setup, Samed Yesil.
It just has to stop.