The selection of defensive pairing Per Mertesacker and Jerome Boateng over Mats Hummels dominate the headlines in Germany ahead of the World Cup qualifier against the Faroe Islands.
Borussia Dortmund defender Hummels has been struggling for form in the early part of the season and Germany coach Joachim Low has taken the opportunity to single out Arsenal’s Mertesacker as a key part of his plans.
“Per has been playing for me for a number of years. He had been struggling with injuries last year, but before that, he always played -- above all in important qualifiers he has done a solid job and was fully concentrated,” Low said.
“He is the most outgoing player in our defence. He gives impulses and is a player with a lot of experience, who permanently looks at other players and not only at himself. Per is exceptionally great at that.”
In a recent interview with German tabloid Express, Low attempted to explain further why he favoured Mertesacker over Hummels.
“Mats has a great leadership abilities,” he said. “But he has not been a member of the national team for a long time. We have other leaders here, the hierarchy is different to Dortmund’s.”
And while being a “very good centre-back”, he “currently lacks the sureness which distinguished him last year.”
During a press conference at the weekend, Mertesacker attempted to play down any ill-feeling in the camp by urging those players not in the team to respect the coach’s decision and not “begrudge success from those playing.”
“Everyone has to be subordinate to the team,” he said. “If you can’t do that, it will also not work during the World Cup”.
Mertesacker added that “at the age of four” he learned that only “eleven players could play at the same time and that the rest has to be fired up to play again.”
Meanwhile, Miroslav Klose will start against the Faroe Islands as he attempts to break Gerd Muller’s all-time goalscoring record for Germany.
Klose, 35, equalled Muller’s record when he scored in the World Cup qualifying win against Austria on Friday and he will be given the chance to move on to 69 international goals by Low in the Faroes.
But Germany will have to do without winger Marco Reus against the Faroe Islands. The Dortmund star did not make the trip to Torshavn and because of flu.
“Julian Draxler, Andre Schurrle and Sidney Sam are the options,” Low said about the possible replacement. “But Sam usually plays on the right, so the decision will be between Schurrle and Draxler.”