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Gotze, Gundogan return to Germany squad ahead of England, France games

Mario Gotze has returned to the Germany squad.

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and his former Borussia Dortmund teammate Mario Gotze return to the Germany team for the upcoming friendlies against England and France.

A total of five Premier League-based Germany internationals could take on England at Wembley in the penultimate match of 2017.

Meanwhile, Leipzig defender Marcel Halstenberg received his first call-up from the Nationalmannschaft.

Both Gotze and Gundogan last appeared for the Germany team in November 2016, and were then ruled out for large parts of the following year because of health or injury problems.

"Mario Gotze and Ilkay Gundogan have reached a good level following their forced breaks," Germany head coach Joachim Low said in a statement on the official DFB website.

"They play important roles at their club, and have found their rhythms. They have both already shown they can improve every team. We are delighted they are back."

Dortmund midfielder Gotze has already featured in seven Bundesliga matches this term. Gundogan is just over two months into his comeback following an anterior cruciate ligament tear and started for Manchester City as they beat Napoli 4-2 in Champions League this week.

Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller, sought-after Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka as well as Cologne's Jonas Hector, a permanent fixture in Low's line-up in recent years, miss the final games of 2017 because of injury.

Leipzig's Marcel Halstenberg, 26, could win his first cap after receiving his first invitation to the Germany team. He is one of two left-backs in the squad, alongside Marvin Plattenhard of Hertha Berlin.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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