I suppose I should have called it when writing my last team preview piece ahead of the coming week’s international friendlies against England and Italy, but the squad of twenty-seven players in Jogi Löw’s squad has now been cut back to twenty-six.
A number of stories involving VfL Wolfsburg striker Max Kruse had placed him in the media spotlight for all the wrong reasons, but a recent altercation with a Bild journalist over photos taken at a nightclub have proved to be the last straw for the Nationaltrainer.
It had all kicked off with Kruse losing a large sum of money in a Berlin taxi after a successful poker evening, a story which was followed by another – arguably slightly more comical – about his alleged addiction problems. Not to drugs, alcohol or underground parties, but Nutella chocolate spread.
Perhaps he should have followed Jogi’s lead and spent his money on Nivea instead.
The more recent story was a little more serious however. In celebrating his twenty-eighth birthday in a Berlin nightclub, Kruse turned on a woman who had been taken photographs of him, asking her to delete them. He then discovered that the woman was a reporter for the tabloid Bild.
While wolfing down (see what I did there?) jars of a product that was once one of the Nationalmannschaft’s sponsors could have been addressed by the coach by means of a firm fatherly chat, cornering a journalist and asking her to remove photographs from her Handy was clearly enough to have Kruse cut from the squad.
It is a well-established fact that Löw has little time for trouble-makers and those that threaten the well-cultivated image of the Mannschaft. If the exile of former national team striker Kevin Kurányi is anything to go by, the chances of Kruse getting back into the mix for the remainder of the current coach’s tenure – let alone this summer’s Euros – are incredibly slim.