Germany call up Khedira, omit Gomez
FRANKFURT -- Sami Khedira has been named in Germany's provisional World Cup squad despite not playing since suffering a serious knee injury in November, but striker Mario Gomez did not make the cut.
Germany head coach Joachim Loew called up seven players from Bayern Munich, six from Borussia Dortmund, four on Schalke's books and three from Premier League side Arsenal among his 30-man squad, which will be reduced by at least four following next Tuesday's friendly against Poland before the final 23-man party for the finals in Brazil is named on June 2.
Chelsea's Andre Schuerrle will also be joining Germany as they prepare for the tournament. The forward joins Arsenal trio Lukas Podolski, Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil.
Khedira tore anterior cruciate knee ligaments in his knee during the Nov. 15 friendly against Italy, but has returned to training with Real and even has an outside chance of playing for them in the Champions League final on May 24.
"We believe that he has positive perspective," Loew told a news conference. "He owes it to his will, his discipline and his determination.
"He belongs to those players, who can make a difference for the team, on and off the pitch. We have every hope that we can lead him to the highest burdens that a World Cup entails."
Fiorentina forward Gomez will stay behind, however. The former Bayern man has been struggling with injuries throughout the season, and has only played 10 games since November.
"He has been injured for seven months, has only played 280 minutes since September," Loew said, and added that Gomez' physical constitution would have not been enough in Brazil. "Of course I'd have loved to see a fit Mario Gomez playing and scoring more at Fiorentina."
Next week's clash against Germany's neighbours in Mainz will see several youngsters like Frankfurt's Sebastian Jung complete the squad as several players are still on club duty.
Announcing his squad at the German football federation's headquarters in Frankfurt, Loew had a few surprises in store as he called up several uncapped youngsters including Schalke duo Max Meyer, 18, and Leon Goretzka, 19. Dortmund left-back Erik Durm, who impressed in the second leg of the Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid, was also called up to preliminary squad, as were the uncapped trio Kevin Volland, Andre Hahn and Shkodran Mustafi. Freiburg's versatile defensive player Matthias Ginter, 20, is also on the 30-man longlist.
"I learned about my call-up from the Bundestrainer last night. I'm of course hugely surprised and delighted," Durm, one of two Borussia Dortmund left backs in the preliminary squad, at a separate news conference.
His club coach, Juergen Klopp, added: "It's not a surprise that he is part of the preliminary squad. It's down to his performances."
Loew said: "He only has played 19 Bundesliga games, but has also made seven Champions League appearances. Especially in the ties against Real Madrid, he convinced us and that's why we came to the conclusion to hand him a chance."
Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who is expected to join Barcelona this summer after announcing his departure from Borussia Moenchengladbach, saw his World Cup hopes ended by Hannover shot-stopper Ron-Robert Zieler.
Germany's provisional World Cup squad
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), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg), 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), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Andre Hahn (Augsburg), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Max Meyer (Schalke), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg).
Forwards: Lukas Podolski (Arsenal), Miroslav Klose (Lazio).