Toni Kroos is back in the Germany squad for the start of the new season, with the Real Madrid midfielder having missed out in June due to a muscle issue. There’s also a return for Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen, with the knee problem that kept him out against Belarus and Estonia now healed. Juventus midfielder Emre Can also makes his first appearance in the squad since October 2018.
Joachim Löw’s side will face the Netherlands on 6th September from 20:45 CEST, with a 51,000 plus crowd expected at the sold-out Volksparkstadion in Hamburg. Then it’s off to Windsor Park in Belfast on 9th September to take on Northern Ireland, with kick-off again at 20:45 CEST. The Germany head coach has named a 22-man squad for the two European qualifiers, including three goalkeepers. There is a first call-up for SC Freiburg forward Luca Waldschmidt having impressed at the European U21 Championship in June, scoring seven goals and claiming the Golden Boot on his way to a runners-up medal.
Injuries keep Leroy Sané (Manchester City), Julian Draxler and Thilo Kehrer (both PSG) out of the squad. It’s considered too soon to recall Chelsea’s Antonio Rüdiger, with the centre-back having only just played his first minutes in Premier League 2 after recovering from a serious knee injury.
“We want to start the new international season full of focus as we build towards the Euros at the end of the campaign,” said Joachim Löw. “Our aim is to build on our stability and rhythm so that we can qualify as quickly as possible. We purposely opted to head down a new path with this young team and we want to don’t want to waver on our journey. The Netherlands and Northern Ireland will provide tough tests for us. I’m anticipating two very emotionally charged games, but we want to carry on our good start to qualifying and add more stability to the team. The fans can be just as excited for these games as the players are,” assured the coach.
DFB’s national teams and academy director Oliver Bierhoff added: “It’s been a real pleasure to watch our young team play and grow together of late. It’s an exciting process that has released a lot of positive energy. I’m especially thrilled that we’ll be playing in front of a sell-out crowd in Hamburg, so we can expect a great atmosphere. I’m confident that the team will give everything to excite the fans with their passion and their football.”
Germany have faced the Netherlands 43 times before, winning 16 meetings, including the recent 3-2 victory in the first group-stage clash in Amsterdam back in March. There have been eleven Dutch victories, while 16 games have ended in a draw. Northern Ireland have come up against Die Mannschaft on 17 occasions, with Germany recording eleven wins (D4, L2). The sides last met in October 2017 in World Cup qualifying, with that meeting in Belfast ending in a 3-1 win for Joachim Löw’s side.
While Northern Ireland top Group C in EURO 2020 qualifying having taken a maximum twelve points from their four games so far, the Netherlands sit third behind Germany (9 points from 3 games) with just three points from their two matches so far. The group is rounded off by Belarus and Estonia, who are both yet to pick up a point.