Joachim Loew cuts Germany numbers
Germany boss Joachim Loew has reduced his World Cup squad to 27 men, with Schalke youngsters Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka and Hamburg left-back Marcell Jansen on standby.
Augsburg winger Andre Hahn has left the preliminary squad altogether and is replaced by Borussia Moenchengladbach holding midfielder Christoph Kramer.
Loew announced his 30-man preliminary squad last week and, after a goalless draw against Poland which featured 12 debutants but no Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Premier League or La Liga pros, made one change.
Kramer comes in for Hahn, with both players having won their first cap against the Poles. "That has nothing to do with Andre Hahn's performance, we were very pleased with him," Loew was quoted as saying.
"The reasons are solely down to the position. In central midfield we have a few players who have been struggling with minor injuries recently or are coming back from longer breaks."
The national team boss was referring to Bayern's Bastian Schweinsteiger, who could miss the weekend's DFB Pokal final with knee problems, Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender and Real Madrid's Sami Khedira, who has only just returned after an ACL tear in November, and added: "We therefore wanted another option to be prepared for every case."
Meanwhile, Loew and team manager Oliver Bierhoff have responded to Ghana international Kevin-Prince Boateng who earlier this week hit out at the Nationalmannschaft, saying they lacked a real leader and thus could not be seen as a World Cup favourite.
"We don't need characters who shout wildly on the pitch, but rather players who take on responsibility -- and we have them, looking at our squad," Bierhoff told Bild.
Loew said of the remarks by former Germany under-21 international Boateng, who opted to play for Ghana ahead of the 2010 World Cup: "All I want to say about that is: we'll answer at the World Cup." Germany and Ghana meet in their second Group G game.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover).
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Erik Durm, Kevin Grosskreutz (both Borussia Dortmund), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Shkodran Mustafi (Sampdoria), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund).
Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Schalke), Mario Gotze (Bayern Munich), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Christoph Kramer (Moenchengladbach), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg).
Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim).
Standby: Marcell Jansen (Hamburg), Leon Goretzka, Max Meyer (both Schalke).