Four new faces in Germany squad
Germany coach Joachim Loew has named four debutants in his squad for the friendly against Chile next week.
Loew included some surprise names for the March 5 clash -- his last selection before he needs to make an initial decision on who he might take to this summer’s World Cup.
Hamburg attacker Pierre-Michel Lasogga, centre-backs Matthias Ginter of Freiburg and Shkodran Mustafi of Sampdoria, and Augsburg winger Andre Hahn have all earned their maiden call-ups to the Germany squad.
The most surprising name to appear on the list is perhaps former Everton player Mustafi, 21, who now plays in Serie A.
The inclusion of Hahn, 23, has also raised eyebrows, with Borussia Dortmund midfielder Marco Reus seemingly rested following injury problems in recent weeks.
“We already had Shkodran Mustafi and Matthias Ginter on our radar through their U21 apperances, and just like Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Andre Hahn, they have more than deserved to be named in the squad,” Loew told the German Football Association’s official website.
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger returns to the Germany squad for the first time since October 2013, having been sidelined with an ankle injury.
“Bastian is in a good way, and he has shown through impressive performances for FC Bayern,” Loew said. “We all know just how important he is for us. He is a world-class player, who can make the difference in Brazil.”
Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski also return after their most recent injuries, while Borussia Dortmund’s Kevin Grosskreutz has a chance to win his fifth cap, having last played for Die Nationalmannschaft in February 2011.
Loew explained that while several key players have been struggling with injury problems, this also means that “we now have the chance to act and work on solutions and alternatives for an emergency.”
He added: “That’s why we have decided to bring in fresh faces, who have constantly shown good performances for their respective clubs in recent weeks and months. All our plans are fully geared to our first World Cup match against Portugal on June 16."
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund).
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Kevin Grosskreutz (Borussia Dortmund), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Shkodran Mustafi (Sampdoria), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund).
Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Andre Hahn (Augsburg), Mario Goetze, Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski (Arsenal), Andre Schuerrle (Chelsea), Sidney Sam (Bayer Leverkusen).
Attackers: Pierre-Michel Lasogga (Hamburg), Miroslav Klose (Lazio).