After all of the speculation, we now have our final squad of twenty-three – and the expected surprise. While one of the three players not making the cut would come as no great shock, the other two would generate more than a ripple following the announcement.
Given the number of alternatives in defence, Shkodran Mustafi was always going to be the first candidate to miss out, and his not making the final list would not be a massive surprise. One could not say the same of TSG 1899 Hoffenheim striker Kevin Volland, whose omission leaves the squad with only one specialist striker – something unheard of in the history of the German national team at the World Cup. With only one specialist number nine in the form of veteran Miroslav Klose, it looks as though Nationaltrainer Joachim Löw may be heading to Brazil with a “False nine” strategy.
The other player dropped is Borussia Dortmund left-back Marcel Schmelzer, who after a injury-plagued season was ultimately not fit enough to book a ticket to Brazil. His place is taken by Erik Durm, who would cap off a fast-track acceleration into the senior squad alongside Matthias Ginter and Christoph Kramer – whose rise out of obscurity would be even more pronounced. Injuries to key players vying for the defensive midfield positions would no doubt help Kramer’s case – he would not have been picked if Lars Bender had not been forced to drop out of the reckoning on the final straight – but his enthusiasm and work rate would earn him his place.
Full squad details can be found here.