After a long break over the winter, the international season starts again with two prestige friendlies as Die Nationalmannschaft start to build towards this year’s Euro finals. Old rivals and fellow tournament finalists England and Italy provide the opposition for Joachim Löw’s side, while Germany will be looking to step up a couple of gears after a lacklustre qualifying campaign.
We do, of course, need to mention something a lot darker. Germany’s friendly against Euro hosts France in Paris was marred by the horrific terrorist attacks that shocked the continent, and another planned game in Hannover against the Netherlands less than a week later was called off after a bomb threat.
We can only hope that the first two matches of 2016 are able to go ahead without any trouble, and that we can all enjoy this summer’s festival of football.
Having named his rump squad of thirty-one players, the Nationaltrainer hasn’t needed to name a squad for these two games. The injury to FC Bayern München Jérôme Boateng sees promising Bayer 04 Leverkusen youngster Jonathan Tah enter the international fold at full senior level for the first time, and it has been just a matter of leaving a couple of names out.
Those named in the “Euro thirty-one” who miss out this time are goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler, defenders Erik Durm and Benedikt Höwedes, and midfielder Ilkay Gündogan. This is of course in addition to the injured Boateng.
One surprise perhaps is the inclusion of skipper Bastian Schweinsteiger, whose form at new club Manchester United has been far from stellar since his move to England in the summer. Meanwhile, promising FC Bayern youngster Joshua Kimmich misses out, despite being named by some pundits as a possible inclusion following some excellent displays for his club.
If the makeup of the squad has a slightly strange look to it, this is probably due to the fact that there are only three FC Bayern players in the list of twenty-eight – compared to the eight there were in Brazil for the World Cup finals in 2014. The inclusion of highly-rated youth talent Tah means that Bayer 04 Leverkusen provide the most players, with four.
In other news, Under-19 coach Marcus Sorg has been called up to assist with the senior squad, joining coach Löw and assistant Thomas Schneider.
Bernd Leno (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 0/0)
Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München, 63/0)
Marc-André ter Stegen (FC Barcelona, 4/0)
Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain, 0/0)
Emre Can (Liverpool FC, 3/0)
Matthias Ginter (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 8/0)
Jonas Hector (1. FC Köln, 10/0)
Mats Hummels (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 44/4)
Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia CF, 9/0)
Antonio Rüdiger (AS Roma, 7/0)
Sebastian Rudy (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, 9/0)
Jonathan Tah (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 0/0)
Karim Bellarabi (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 10/1)
Julian Draxler (VfL Wolfsburg, 16/1)
Sami Khedira (Juventus Torino, 57/5)
Christoph Kramer (Bayer 04 Leverkusen, 11/0)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid CF, 62/9)
Thomas Müller (FC Bayern München, 68/31)
Mesut Özil (Arsenal FC, 70/18)
Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray S.K., 126/48)
Marco Reus (BV 09 Borussia Dortmund, 27/9)
André Schürrle (VfL Wolfsburg, 49/20)
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United FC, 114/23)
Mario Gómez (Beşiktaş J.K, 61/25)
Mario Götze (FC Bayern München, 48/16)
Max Kruse (VfL Wolfsburg, 14/4)
Kevin Volland (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, 5/0)