Germany head coach Joachim Löw and U21 head coach Stefan Kuntz have announced their respective squads for the upcoming Confederations Cup in Russia (17th June – 2nd July) and the U21 European Championship in Poland (16th – 30th June).
In Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha BSC), Kerem Demirbay, Sandro Wagner (both 1899 Hoffenheim), Diego Demme (RB Leipzig), Lars Stindl (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Amin Younes (Ajax Amsterdam), no fewer than six players will be joining up with the 23-man full Germany squad for the first time. Julian Draxler, Matthias Ginter and Shkodran Mustafi are the only World Cup winners travelling to Russia and there are nine players who are still eligible for the U21s.
Kuntz has named a squad of 25 players, five of whom have already played for the full Germany team: Yannick Gerhardt, Maximilian Arnold (both VfL Wolfsburg), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen), Serge Gnabry (Werder Bremen) and Max Meyer (Schalke 04). Lukas Klünter (1. FC Köln) and Felix Platte (Darmstadt 98) are new additions to the U21 squad. Stefan Kuntz has until 6th June to decrease his squad to 23 players. We’ve summarised the thoughts of the Germany head coach below.
Joachim Löw on...
... THIS SUMMER’S CHALLENGE: It’s a particularly challenging summer for Germany as we have to deal with the Confed Cup, the U21 Euros and the U20 World Cup all simultaneously. We want to give a good account of ourselves at all three tournaments.
... THE CONFED CUP: Lots will be said about the point of the Confed Cup. The fact is that it’s there. Therefore, we will be just as well prepared as for a European Championship or a World Cup. Above all, we’re preparing for the World Cup. That’s our mission because the World Cup is the biggest tournament out there. A World Cup triumph is legendary. The Confed Cup is a stop en route to the World Cup and a good warm up opportunity for next year. We want to get to know the country, the people and the atmosphere in Russia. Our players can gain good experience there.
... THE SQUAD: We’re going with a predominantly young squad to the Confed Cup, with a view to the future. The players should get to know how we train and how things work with us. We did everything in close communication with Stefan Kuntz and sporting director Horst Hrubesch. Our aim was to find solutions which suited everybody. There are players who would have done well in either team. We have a large group of players with a lot of potential. It’s important that both we and the U21s have good tournaments and collect positive tournament experience. Everyone needs to be ready to give their best performance at the World Cup.
... THE EXCLUSION OF MANY ESTABLISHED PLAYERS: Some players who we’ve already seen play at major tournaments before have been given a break because I think three tournaments in three years is a heavy workload. They have been deliberately left out because the 2018 World Cup stands above all else.
... THE PREPARATION: We’re not having a training camp before the Confed Cup. We’re meeting up before the Denmark game (6th June in Copenhagen) and will start preparing things for the tournament then. After the World Cup qualification match against San Marino (10th June in Nuremberg) we’ll have two days off and then meet up on 13th June to prepare for the Confed Cup.
... THE AIM AT THE CONFED CUP: The aim is different to that of a European Championship or World Cup, which we go into with a very clear aim. We haven’t set any goal of finishing first, second or third for example. Preparation for 2018 takes priority. At the Confed Cup we want to bring in players and develop them. We also want to give a good account of ourselves football wise with a team which hasn’t played together before. We want to establish a close-knit team which plays with our philosophy and enjoyment, but also tries to get results. The first objective is to win against Australia and get off to a good start. Then we’ll see how the tournament goes.
... THE LEADERS: Who will lead the team will emerge in the next four to five weeks. Obviously, Sandro Wagner and Lars Stindl have experience, but they’re new to us. We have players in the squad like Jonas Hector, Julian Draxler and Shkodran Mustafi who have already played in tournaments and they will bring qualities and could have leading roles within the team. Draxler has had a great season with PSG. If he takes on more responsibility with us then it will set him up well for the future.
… THE GOALKEEPERS: There are no surprises. Bernd Leno, Marc-André ter Stegen and Kevin Trapp have all been with us before. All three have played in the Champions League. We’re convinced by all three. They consistently give good performances for their clubs sides.
… THE DEFENCE: First of all it was important to have a balance with players and positions and to have one-for-one replacements. Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng are taking a break because they’ve played tournaments and have played a phenomenal amount of games for Bayern this season. Antonio Rüdiger is back after he missed the Euros. Shkodran Mustafi brings experience to the team and Matthias Ginter has played in two U21 European Championships. We have Joshua Kimmich and Benjamin Henrichs on the right, Jonas Hector and Marvin Plattenhardt on the left. Plattenhardt is perhaps a surprise, but we’ve watched him a lot this season and he plays regularly for Hertha. When we decided to send Yannick Gerhardt away with the U21s, we found Plattenhardt as an alternative.
… SANDRO WAGNER: Wagner has a different way of playing to other players that we have. He brings different skills to the team and has scored a lot of goals in the Bundesliga over the last two years. He runs a lot, occupies defenders and is a central striker. In Wagner we have an open and honest player and I’m looking forward to working with him.
… KEREM DEMIRBAY: Kerem has played very well for Hoffenheim. He plays a good final pass and has great technique. He could have played for Turkey. I’ve spoken to him a few times and am pleased that he wants to play for us.
… DIEGO DEMME: He’s a tough central defensive midfielder. He’s a good runner and is strong when the opposition has the ball. He’s had a great season with Leipzig. Thomas (Schneider Anm.d.Red.) said he’s a mini Gattuso.
… LEON GORETZKA: He was a key player for the U21s and has played very well for us against Italy. It’s important that we get to know him better as he could play an important role for us next season.
… LARS STINDL: Lars has had a good season at Gladbach. He’s someone who can play as a second striker or in the number 10 position. He’s technically very good and carries a goal threat. He also fits in to the way we want to play and brings all the right qualities. We’ve thought about selecting him in the past and now we’ve given him the opportunity to show what he can do.
… AMIN YOUNES: He came into our thinking because he played a couple of very good European games for Ajax. His games against Schalke and Lyon were very, very good. He offers a lot including being very strong in one-on-one situations. That’s a skill that not many players possess. Amin now has the chance to prove himself to us.
… TIMO WERNER: He’s made a massve leap with Leipzig this year. He runs in behind and hurts opponents. He is a massive goal threat and is very fast. His pressing is also very strong and he causes the opposition problems.
... THE AIMS FOR THE TOURNAMENT: At the end of the day my players see things the same way I do – losing isn’t fun. We want to win every game. Our job is help the players improve their qualities. We want to develop the players and create a team spirit. We want to prepare the players for the World Cup. They are still partially protected at their clubs. Here they have to take total responsibility and this challenge is an important one for the players. When you look at the two squads you see the incredible amount of potential that there is in German football currently.
... THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE SQUADS: I think the balance is good. Every player has a role. Looking ahead to the 2018 World Cup everything has been thought through. If all of the possible U21 players had been selected for the U21 squad, they couldn’t all have played.
... PREPARATION FOR THE EUROS: We have a pre-tournament training camp from 1st to 9th June. We meet up again on the 13th and we fly to Poland on the 14th.
... THE EURO OPPONENTS: We’ve monitored the Czechs and the Poles closely and the Danes have six or seven players who are already part of their full set-up. The tournament is good for surprises. Lots of nations take players from their first team squads, Portugal are the only other team at the Confed Cup. There will be four, five or even six teams who are considered favourites for the tournament. We’ll be considered one of them so it’s up to use to put in some good performances.
... THE TORUNAMENT SET-UP: The set-up is interesting: only the group winners and the best second-placed side progress. Therefore, we can’t afford to start the tournament slowly, rather we need to be right at it from the start.
... THE SQUAD: We’ve included two additional players because we’re still unsure over the injuries of Niklas Stark and Jonathan Tah. Mitchell Weiser in midfield was also recently injured. Stark is an experienced player and we also have young players such as Thilo Kehrer, who was born in 1996 and is eligible for the next U21 European Championship. We have many options. Joachim Löw has spoken about the roles Serge Gnabry and Max Meyer will play with us.
... THE GOALKEEPER: We have two goalkeepers who are both number 1s in the Bundesliga 2. It’s important that they have match practice. We’ll head into the training camp without a clear number one and hope to have one after the training camp.
... THE DEFENCE: In Timo Baumgartl and Waldemar Anton we have two quality defensive players from Bundesliga 2 who will probably bring the excitement of promotion with them. Lukas Klünter has gained attention through his performances with Köln and will bring a freshness to the squad. He was very pleased with my call.
... THE ATTACK: If anything should happen to Davie Selke, we wouldn’t have had a back-up striker. Therefore, we’ve called up Felix Platte who brings physicality.