Joachim Low has named his 26-man Germany squad for the delayed Euro 2020. The tournament will be his last as Low will step down at the end of it as the manager of Germany.
The list had 2 interesting inclusions. Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller, both return to the Germany national team after a gap of 2 years. Joachim Low famously excluded the players from his selection after the abysmal 2018 FIFA World Cup. However, their recent performance has forced the manager to bring them back for Euro 2020.
Germany will start their group stage match against France on the 15th of June. Alongside France, the group consisting of Portugal and Hungary. Hence the group was rightfully dubbed the group of death for Euro 2020.
GERMANY SQUAD FOR EURO 2020
Here is the complete 26 man Germany squad for the Euros 2020.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer, Bernd Leno, Kevin Trapp
Defenders: Antonio Rudiger, Mats Hummels, Matthias Ginter, Niklas Sule, Emre Can, Lukas Klostermann, Robin Gosens, Robin Koch, Christian Gunter, Marcel Halstenberg.
Midfielders: Joshua Kimmich, Ilkay Gundogan, Kai Havertz, Toni Kroos, Leon Goretzka, Jonas Hofmann, Florian Neuhaus, Jamal Musiala.
Forwards: Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Timo Werner, Leroy Sane, Kevin Volland.
EURO 2020: SURPRISE INCLUSIONS FOR GERMANY
The squad has raised some eyebrows for both some surprise inclusions and exclusions. Kevin Volland is one of them. The 28-year-old striker is having a good season in France with AS Monaco. Unlike the other superstars like Timo Werner or Kai Havertz, Low could play more direct football with Volland. Hence Volland could be a key member for Germany against teams that defends deep.
Robin Koch also has been a surprise in the squad. The centre-back who plays for Leeds United in Premier League has only played half the available matches this season. He also suffered a knee injury during the season and was out for 3 months. With this lack of game time and with the other players on the squad, he won’t be getting many minutes.
Christian Gunter also made it into the team after having a good season with Freiburg. But with Robin Gosens and Marcel Halstenberg present in the team, Ginter might have to satisfy with a rare appearance from the bench.
Marco Reus and Marc-Andre ter Stegen are two of the biggest absentees from the German squad. Reus has made himself unavailable for selection as he wants to recover after an intense season. Meanwhile, ter Stegen misses the Euros as he will undergo knee surgery.
The Borussia Dortmund trio of Mahmoud Dahoud, Julian Brandt, and Nico Schulz was also not picked. While Schulz and Brandt have not featured much during this season, Dahoud is having a renaissance at Dortmund. Low, though has admitted that Dahoud will be next in line if there are any injuries in the current squad.
Rldle Baku of Wolfsburg is another important exclusion in the backline. A right-back, Baku has been excellent this season for Wolfsburg and played a pivotal part in their qualification for Champions League. He has scored 6 and assisted for 6 goals this season and is in the Bundesliga team of the season. With only Klosterman, an option at right-backs in the squad, not picking Baku is very puzzling.
From the team list, one thing that stands out is the lack of a traditional right back. While Sule or Klosterman could play that role, they are not good options going forward. Joshua Kimmich has excelled in that role previously, but considering his importance in the midfield, he also won’t be featuring on the right.
All these points towards a shift for Germany to a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 system. With Hummels, Rudiger, Ginter, Sule and Klosterman to pick from, a back three is a better option for Germany. This will be also keeping in mind the firepower of teams like Portugal and France. Neuer will be the first choice keeper, while Leno would be the second choice.
Gosens or Halstenberg will be the left wing-back, with Gunter may be making a surprise appearance. In the right wing-back role though Klosterman could be the option. Low may even play Hofmann or Gnabry in this position to catch the opposition by surprise. Hence this is going to be one position to keep an eye on.
In midfield, Germany is spoiled for choices. Kimmich is sure to play in the deep-lying role but could be pushed to the right wing-back position. If Kimmich moves towards the right, then the midfield will be occupied by Goretzka and Kroos, with Gundogan rotating with them. Neuhaus and Can will provide depth to the midfield in case of any injuries.
In the attack, Low could go with Werner as the main striker while Muller or Havertz will accompany him as the second striker. Gnabry, Sane, Hofmann and Musiala will play as the wingers and provide the width for the attack. Volland could come in as more of a traditional number 9 if Low decides to change the tactics.
Germany always comes to major tournaments as favorites. But since their collapse in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the team is lacking confidence. Not able to create the same fear as before, Germany has lost their ruthlessness. Manager Joachim Low has faced a bulk of criticism for being complacent and not adapting to the needs. Euros 2020 hence will be his final chance to redeem some pride.