Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan are among just three Premier League-based players in Germany’s squad as it looks to rebuild following the 2018 World Cup disaster.
The Manchester City pair joined Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger in the Germany squad, which features three debutants but also 17 of the 23 players who went to Russia, as manager Joachim Low appears to oppose blowing up the team to prepare for the 2020 European Championship. Bayern Munich stars Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng and were all recalled despite poor World Cup performances, but Sami Khedira and Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi and Bernd Leno were all left home. Mesut Ozil, who announced he wouldn’t play for the national team again unless there were changes at the top of the German football federation, was also left off the squad, having reportedly refused to communicate with the national team coaches and general manager Oliver Bierhoff.
The three new call-ups are Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz, Paris Saint-Germain’s Thilo Kehrer and Hoffenheim’s Nico Schultz.
Low admitted for the first time since the end of the World Cup, where Germany failed to make it out of the group stage, that he became too obsessed with the dominant, possession-based style his team morphed into, but he didn’t have the pieces for it come 2018.
“My biggest mistake was that I believed that we could get through the group stage with this our domineering style of play,” Löw said.
“It was almost arrogant of me. I wanted to push this style of play as far as it could go, to perfect it even more. I should have prepared the team the way I did in 2014, when we had more of a balance between offense and defense.”
Germany hosts France on September 6 in the UEFA Nations League in then Peru in a friendly match on September 9.