The new German national team kit for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar has been revealed with a snazzy black and white number for the home kit and a red/ black version for the changed kit. The question now arises as to who will get to wear it?
With Germany’s opening fixture against Japan just 86 days away, national team trainer Hansi Flick has the unenviable task of selecting a squad of just 23 min/ 26 max players from a pool of much larger talent. There are going to be some tough decisions ahead for the former Bayern trainer and some disappointed players, who don’t make the final cut for the flight to Qatar.
Here we give our prediction of a final 23-man squad and speculate on the names that could still play their way into the final World Cup squad. Injuries could play a role, a surge in form, or a severe drop could also change Flick’s mind.
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp
Defenders: David Raum, Thilo Kehrer, Antonio Rudiger, Nico Schlotterbeck, Matthias Ginter, Niclas Süle, Christian Günter
Midfielders: Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Ilkay Gundogan, Florian Neuhaus, Florian Wirtz
Forwards: Thomas Müller, Jamal Musiala, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Jonas Hofmann, Karim Adeyemi
The talking points
Of course, any prediction is going to contain an amount of guess work and subjectivity and people will have varying opinions as to the validity of the above selection. We love debate! There are as many as thirteen players (possibly more), who could genuinely have a claim to have a shout at replacing one of the names in our selection.
There are of course shoo-ins, but who knows what injuries could occur between now and the historic mid-season finals tournament. Players returning from injury like Leon Goretzka and Florian Wirtz may not have a huge amount of game time to prove their fitness/ form to the national team trainer.
In the goalkeeping department, should anything happen, then Hoffenheim’s Oliver Baumann seems the likeliest to be called in. Much will depend on whether Flick goes with a flat back four, but there are a number of defenders with a genuine case for inclusion. Veteran Mats Hummels has the experience, but it could just be a tournament too far for the BVB centre back with his club partner Nico Schlotterbeck the preferred option. Niclas Süle has been a favourite of Flick’s but injury has hampered his start to the season, and he is by no means assured of his place. Jonathan Tah will be hoping he can play his way into contention should Süle not be considered up to it.
David Raum looks set to inch out Robin Goosens at left back, but with Thilo Kehrer having the versatility to play at either fullback position or in the centre, Goosens could miss out completely. Christian Günter of Freiburg would get my vote ahead of Goosens. Marcel Halstenberg provides more options although injuries have hindered him of late, while club mate Lukas Klostermann will also be keeping his fingers crossed for a right back spot.
Ridle Baku of VfL Wolfsburg would provide a natural right back option if Flick isn’t comfortable playing a centre back like Matthias Ginter out of position. Benjamin Henrichs is also a regular right back who will definitely be under consideration.
In the midfield area, Kimmich, Goretzka and Gundogan provide the obvious pool for the double pivot, but questions remain as to how Goretzka will fare after his injury. Mahmoud Dahoud is playing that role for Dortmund and would be ready to step in.
Another name missing from our predicted squad is Julian Brandt. Since his move to Dortmund, he has blown hot and cold, but there is no doubting his potential. We have also gone for BVB’s Karim Adeyemi ahead of club captain Marco Reus. Will Hansi Flick go for youthful potential or sentimental hope?
Lukas Nmecha of VfL Wolfsburg is a player who with a bagful of goals in the Bundesliga Hinrunde could play his way into the final reckoning. A wild card like Mainz’s Jonathan Burkardt cannot be totally ruled out.
It’s a debate that will have so many opinions and differing voices, but one thing will be agreed upon by everyone- Hansi Flick has an exceedingly difficult task ahead of him. Who have we missed? Are they other wild cards you’d consider?