Nationaltrainer Jogi Löw has named his squad for the double header against Turkey and Kazakhstan next week, adding Dortmund winger Kevin Großkreutz to what is essentially an unchanged selection. The same twenty-one players selected for the games against Belgium and Azerbaijan with the exception of the injured Stefan Kießling are recalled, with Großkreutz and the fit-again Jérôme Boateng making up a round twenty-two. Despite taking a severe blow to the eye during the game against Azerbaijan that saw him substituted after eleven minutes, defender Per Mertersacker is fit enough to be named in the squad.
Not named in the squad are Lewis Holtby and André Schürrle, two of the new breed of young guns who have been instrumental in firing unfashionable FSV Mainz 05 to the top of the Bundesliga with seven wins from seven games. The British tabloid press have for the last few months been circulating stories about the possibility of the twenty-year-old Holtby – whose father is a former British serviceman – playing for England, but the player himself has expressed his desire to play for Germany.
The game against Turkey in Berlin is without doubt on paper the toughest home fixture of the group; given the large Turkish population of the city I find it rather odd that this venue had been chosen, as it may well end up feeling like a home game for their supporters who will make their best efforts to swallow up all of the tickets. It will be Germany’s nineteenth game against Turkey: their overall record is solid enough with twelve wins, three draws and three losses, but in recent years the Turks have improved dramatically with only one loss in their last four matches agsinst the Nationalmannschaft. Crucially, this German victory was in the semi-final of Euro 2008, the last occasion on which the two teams met.
Both sides go into the game with the maximum six points from two games played, with the Turks having disposed of both Kazakhstan and Belgium.
Germany’s second fixture of the double-header against Kazakhstan in Astana will represent the first meeting at full international level – in fact, at any level – between the two sides. The Kazakhs have also played two games and have yet to score either a point or a goal – but were perhaps slightly unlucky to lose to Austria in Salzburg having kept a clean sheet right until the death.