Jerome Boateng

Getty Images

Despite Germany injury woes, Boateng and Hummels still frozen out

Leave a comment

Germany may be facing an injury crisis at the back, but that still has not forced Joachim Low’s hand.

After 2018 World Cup disappointment, Low vowed he would never call up Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels again, freezing the two veterans out as part of an overhaul of the national team squad he hoped would turn the country’s fortunes. Now, with a number of injuries to the back line, some wondered if Low would take back his promise and look to the veterans for cover.

With Niklas Sule suffering a torn ACL, Antonio Ruediger struggling with a nagging groin problem, and Thilo Kehrer sidelined with a long-term foot injury, Low stayed the course and kept both Boateng and Hummels out of the team, announcing the squad for upcoming Euro qualifiers against Belarus and Northern Ireland on Friday morning.

Instead, the boss called upon Borussia Monchengladbach captain Mattias Ginter who will partner with a host of young and inexperienced defenders. The squad includes SC Freiburg defender Robin Koch and Hertha center-back Niklas Stark, who between the two share a single international cap – Koch made his Germany debut last month, while Stark has yet to appear in an international match. Also in the squad is 23-year-old Bayer Leverkusen center-back Jonathan Tah, owner of eight international caps for Germany including starts in three of the last five Euro qualifiers.

Finally, a surprise inclusion was Emre Can, despite having been sent off last time out for Germany and is therefore suspended for the Belarus game. Can is capable at center-back, where he was playing at the time of his red card, although his more natural position is defensive midfield.

Keeping Boateng out of the squad is a justifiable decision by Low, especially after the Bayern defender was sent off just 10 minutes into their last match against Eintracht Frankfurt, leading to a heavy 5-1 defeat that left the club three points off the top of the table. Boateng has looked off the pace all season and has been left on the bench by recently fired Bayern boss Nico Kovac six times across all competitions this season.

The Hummels decision is more questionable as Borussia Dortmund is unbeaten in league play since the start of September and has kept three consecutive Bundesliga clean sheets, including one against current leaders Gladbach. Hummels also captained the side in the wild 3-2 comeback win over Inter this week that saw Dortmund completely dominate the second half after falling 2-0 down.

Niklas Sule tears ACL, will miss rest of season and likely Euros

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule suffered an ACL tear that will cause him to miss the rest of the club season as well as Euro 2020, the club announced.

“Apparently, the season is over for him, he can forget about the Euros,” said Bayern club president Uli Hoeness.

Sule has become a critical player for both club and country over the past year. He had been on the pitch for every minute of Bayern’s league campaign until his injury in the 12th minute of the 2-2 draw with Augsburg, and Germany manager Joachim Low had tabbed Sule as a long-term solution at center-back after publicly moving on from Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng in the hopes of overhauling the national team squad.

Sule represents a massive loss for Germany, having started and played the full 90 minutes in each of the past 11 matches for the national side. He has been the lone constant in the national team defense while his center-back partnership is a rotating door of players such as Emre Can, Robin Koch, Mattias Ginter, Jonathan Tah, and Antonio Rudiger. It is unclear whether Low would re-consider his stance on Hummels and/or Boateng with his defensive situation thrown into disarray.

At the club level, Bayern has options to replace Sule but almost all of them represent a downgrade. Benjamin Pavard, who played full-back for the French national team during their 2018 World Cup run, has transitioned to center-back and seen significant playing time already this season. Lucas Hernandez is also a relative newcomer to the center-back role like Pavard, while Boateng could potentially find his way back into the starting lineup having made just four appearances so far this season.

Muller ‘angry’ after being dropped by Germany

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Thomas Muller has spoken out for the first time since it was announced that Germany manager Jogi Low would drop Muller, Mats Hummels, and Jerome Boateng from selection in 2019 as part of a “new start for the German national team.”

Low came under fire after Germany was bounced from its group in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, and it seems he is making drastic changes to kickstart the country’s push towards Euro 2020.

In an Instagram video, Muller has spoken out against the decision, saying, “The more I think about it, the more the way it was done, makes me angry.”

Muller explains that he is under the impression that Low’s decision was not about his play on the field, but his presence in the locker room. “The coach’s sudden decision obviously left me puzzled,” the Bayern Munich striker said. “A coach must make sporting decisions, no problem, I do not have a problem with that. But it’s mostly the character of the decision that I don’t understand. Mats, Jerome and I are still able to play at the highest level.”

The 29-year-old was also not satisfied with the process which the German national team took to publicly announce the decision. “The press releases of the German football federation and its president [Reinhard Grindel], prepared in advance, were from my point of view in bad taste and showed a lack of consideration.”

Muller is not the only one to speak publicly against the decision. Bayern Munich president Karl-Heinz Rumminedge explained his issue with the announcement, deeming it problematic for other reasons. “We consider the timing and circumstances of the announcement, both to the players and public, as questionable,” said Rummenigge in a joint statement with Bayern sport director Hasan Salihamidzic. “The last international match of the German national team took place on 19 November 2018 – three and a half months ago.”

Boateng also shared his disappointment with the decision, although his prepared statement was not as harsh or heartfelt as Muller’s more personal video. “Low told me in a straightforward conversation today that I will not continue to be a part of the Germany team because he wants to offer the stage to young players and give the team a new face,” Boateng wrote on Twitter. “I personally am convinced that I can still play at the highest level and I will show that in future. … I’d have wished for a different type of farewell for us.”

Back on Tuesday when the decision was announced, Low explained he hoped to use this moment to push his younger players into a more feature role on and off the field. We want to give the team a new look. I am convinced that this is the right step,” Low said. “The youngsters coming through will have the room they need to grow. Now it’s up to them to take on responsibility.”

Muller has made exactly 100 appearances for the German national team, scoring 38 goals including five in the 2014 World Cup as the team rode to victory in Brazil. He scored once in the infamous 7-1 victory over Brazil in the semifinals of that tournament and won the Golden Boot in the 2010 World Cup with five goals as well. Muller had some duds on the international level as well, failing to register a goal in Euro 2016 which saw Germany fall to France in the semifinals, and in Euro 2012 as Germany dropped to Italy in the semis as well. He went goalless in the 2018 World Cup as Germany fell to the bottom of its group looking to defend its title.

Bayern takes swipe at Germany coach over dropped players

Photo by Matt Dunham - Pool/Getty Images
1 Comment

MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich took a swipe at Germany coach Joachim Loew on Wednesday for the manner and timing of his move to prematurely end the international careers of three of the club’s players.

Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels were all informed Tuesday that they were no longer in Loew’s plans, part of an ongoing shake-up following Germany’s woeful performance at last year’s World Cup.

[ MORE: Real-Ajax recap | Ajax reacts ]

“Basically we do not comment on the sporting decisions of the national coach, but we find the timing and circumstances of the announcement of this decision to the players and the public to be questionable,” Bayern said in a statement.

Bayern also pointed out that Germany’s last game was on Nov. 19 and “the fact the players and public were informed around three months later” before games against Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga and Liverpool in the Champions League “irritates us.”

Loew, however, is expected to name his squad for the team’s next matches in the coming days.

Bayern also paid tribute to its players’ achievements with Germany. All three helped the country win the World Cup in 2014.

More AP German soccer coverage: https://apnews.com/Bundesliga and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Transfer rumor roundup: Boateng to Man United; Rondon to Newcastle

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Manchester United’s hunt for a new center back looks set to go right down to the wire and it has taken a new twist after their 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in preseason on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho has chased the likes of Harry Maguire and Yerry Mina this summer but German international defender Jerome Boateng, 29, appears to be at the top of United’s list in the final days of the summer window.

Sky Sports in Germany is reporting that United’s reprentatives are in talks with Bayern Munich about signing Boateng for a fee in the region of $56.8 million.

Is an ageing Boateng worth that kind of cash?

His ability is undoubted as the World Cup winner has won every trophy going with Bayern and has been a Bundesliga mainstay for over a decade. After one season at Manchester City in 2010/11, Boateng could well return to Manchester with a point to prove as he is coming off the back of a rough World Cup with Germany as they crashed out at the group stage and he was sent off against Sweden.

Boateng’s combination of pace and power means he will suit Mourinho’s style of play well and alongside Eric Bailly they would form a physically dominant partnership. However, when you think of Boateng, the first thing that pops into your mind is likely him falling over as Lionel Messi tangled him up at the Nou Camp…

That moment aside, there’s no doubting that Boateng would be an upgrade on Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling alongside Bailly. He’s also experienced and Mourinho knows he can trust him to deliver and perform right away.


Multiple outlets are reporting that West Brom striker Salomon Rondon has agreed to join Newcastle United on loan.

Rondon, 28, was a star for West Brom in their relegation campaign in 2017/18 as he fed off scraps and still managed to score 10 goals in all competitions for the Baggies. Since his move from Zenit in 2016, Rondon has scored 28 goals in 119 appearances in all competition for West Brom. That’s hardly prolific but he has impressed with his hold-up play, pace in-behind to stretch defenses and his tireless workrate.

The Venezuelan international is said to have a release clause of just $20 million but it appears Rafael Benitez and the Magpies are keen to “try before they buy” after having their fingers burned by bringing in striker Islam Slimani on loan from Leicester City last January only for the Algerian star to sit in the treatment room for the vast majority of his time on Tyneside.

Rondon would be a magnificent addition to Benitez’s squad as their current batch of strikers includes Ayoze Perez, Joselu and new signing Yoshinori Muto. Rondon’s physical presence would allow him to lead the line with Perez and others buzzing around underneath him.

The Magpies also look to be readying themselves for the move as Adam Armstrong has been sold to Blackburn Rovers and Dwight Gayle is said to be heading to West Brom on loan in the opposite direction to Rondon.