It has been quite a summer of football. The Mannschaft making their way to the semi-finals in France, and more recently Horst Hrubesch’s Olympiamannschaft just missing out on the gold medal in Rio after losing a gripping penalty shootout against the hosts. The Olympic cauldron is still only cooling down, but we are all set for the start of the new international football season – and the qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Most of the Euros squad are now back and raring to go after a welcome summer break, and Nationaltrainer Joachim Löw’s squad of twenty-four also includes three members of the Olympic team – including a new senior pick. At the other end of the scale, the squad also includes a special selection, providing fans to offer a national team legend a fond farewell as he ends his international career.
A Nordic double
Löw’s team will kick off the 2016/17 international season with a friendly against Finland in Mönchengladbach, before kicking off the World Cup campaign with a journey to Oslo to take on Norway – the first time the two teams have met in a competitive fixture in over sixty years. On 22nd November 1953, Sepp Herberger’s West German side met the Norwegians in a World Cup qualifier in Hamburg. After falling behind after 27 minutes, the Nationalmannschaft hit back with goals from Max Morlock (2), the Walter brothers Fritz and Ottmar (both scoring within a minute) and Helmut Rahn.
We all know what happened after that. Germany would go on to win the World Cup the following year in Bern.
The friendly against the Finns will provide a welcome international warmup before the more serious stuff in Oslo, but will also provide a showcase finale to career of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who announced his retirement from international football shortly after the Euros. It will be an emotional farewell for the captain, who made his debut as a teenager against Hungary.
In a career spanning 121 games over twelve years, it has been a special time for one of Germany’s most well-loved players in recent years.
While there are some big absences through injury – Jérôme Boateng, Marco Reus and Mario Gómez to name but three – there are plenty of familiar faces in the squad. The same three goalkeepers who were in the Euro 2016 squad return, as do the core of the defensive unit who starred in France. The one new face is TSG 1899 Hoffenheim defender Niklas Süle, one of the many youngsters to impress in the Olympic tournament.
Forging an impressive central defensive partnership with Matthias Ginter, Süle showed just why he had been touted as a future star for the Mannschaft with a series of excellent and mature displays.
The duo from Rio
In the midfield, two more Olympic heroes are back. Schalke 04’s Max Meyer and Bayer 04 Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt both impressed in Brazil, and their presence in the senior squad is no great surprise. Meyer showed great maturity in stepping up to captain the Olympic team following the injury to Schalke team mate Leon Goretzka, while Brandt, who was unlucky to miss out on selection for the Euros squad, was a dynamic presence throughout the tournament in Rio. Both players will be looking to add to their one international cap.
Also back in the squad is Brandt’s club colleague Karim Bellarabi, who was also one of the last to be cut from the Euros squad. Other than that, it is a case of as you were with all of the familiar names – with the notable absence of the injured İlkay Gündoğan and Marco Reus as well as Lukas Podolski, who also called time on his international career a short time after the Euros.
Up front, Mario Götze is joined by Kevin Volland, another one of those who had a quiet summer. Both players are now with new clubs, with Götze making the move back to Dortmund from Munich and Volland departing Hoffenheim for Leverkusen.
Bernd Leno (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 1/0)
Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München, 71/0)
Marc-André ter Stegen (FC Barcelona, 6/0)
Emre Can (Liverpool FC, 7/0)
Jonas Hector (1. FC Köln, 20/1)
Benedikt Höwedes (FC Schalke 04, 40/2)
Mats Hummels (FC Bayern München, 50/4)
Joshua Kimmich (FC Bayern München, 5/0)
Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia CF, 12/1)
Niklas Süle (TSG 1899 Hofenheim, 0/0)
Jonathan Tah (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 1/0)
Karim Bellarabi (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 10/1)
Julian Brandt (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 1/0)
Julian Draxler (VfL Wolfsburg, 24/2)
Sami Khedira (Juventus Turin, 65/5)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid CF, 71/11)
Max Meyer (FC Schalke 04, 1/0)
Thomas Müller (FC Bayern München, 77/32)
Mesut Özil (Arsenal FC, 79/20)
André Schürrle (VfL Wolfsburg, 49/20)
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United, 120/24)
Julian Weigl (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 1/0)
Mario Götze (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 56/17)
Kevin Volland (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 6/0)