Some of you just watched Germany lose 1-0 in Mexico vs. Germany and might be wondering why Mario Goetze and Andre Schurrle weren’t on the field for Germany. Or maybe you’re wondering where Manchester City star Leroy Sane was, or Liverpool’s Emre Can, or Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi.
If you checked the bench, you’d have sees that all of them aren’t even in Russia as members of the Germany national team.
Why aren’t all these players at the World Cup?
No one ever accused the Germany national team of possessing wistfulness.
Die Mannschaft announced its provisional World Cup roster on Tuesday, and two names were noticeably absent — Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle, the two men responsible for the goal that won Germany the World Cup in 2014.
Gotze is just 25; Schurrle is 27.
The fact that Gotze and Schurrle were left off the roster at this point isn’t so much a statement about the lack of feeling from head coach Joachim Low but rather reflective of the fact that this Germany side is absolutely loaded.
Same goes for Leroy Sane, Mustafi and Emre Can, I guess.
I mean: Look at this roster.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (PSG)
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern), Matthias Ginter (Gladbach), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Mats Hummels (Bayern), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha), Antonio Rüdiger (Chelsea), Niklas Süle (Bayern)
Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (PSG), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Ilkay Gündogan (Man City), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Mesut Özil (Arsenal), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern)
Forwards: Mario Gomez (Stuttgart), Thomas Müller (Bayern), Marco Reus (Dortmund), Timo Werner (Leipzig)
Surely they could have used them, though?
It sure looks like it!
That’s the thing: To bring any of these players, you need to leave two of the people on the above roster off. Perhaps you could make the case against 32-year-old Mario Gomez, but he is an out-and-out striker, and Gotze, Sane and Schurrle are attacking midfield types.
Gotze and Schurrle also both struggled this year to make the kind of impact we’ve seen from them in the past. Granted, Dortmund had an odd down year for their standards, but both players struggled to ignite the team to any kind of serious run at the Bundesliga crown. Gotze had two goals and three assists in 23 appearances for Dortmund this season. Schurrle managed just one goal and four assists in 18 appearances, but only started 11 games for the club.
Both players could point to the now departed manager Peter Stoger as a cause for their poor play this year, but if you’re Low, and you have the types of players at your disposal that he does, it’s just not something you’re going to consider too much. He has to bring the players playing the best soccer leading into the World Cup.
Gotze and Schurrle were heroes four years ago, but right now, they’re not playing well enough to be there.
Sane is a bigger question mark. He had a wonderful season for City. And then there’s the absence of Can, someone who might be able to help Germany in a team that looks a little wanting for defensive central midfielder.
Germany have a lot of wonderful players, but after a 1-0 loss to Mexico in which their midfield was completely overrun, Joachim Low has to wonder if he made some serious mistakes leaving these players at home.