ESPN’s chief Bundesliga commentator, Derek Rae, explains how the domestic league is laying the foundation for Germany’s World Cup squad as he looks at the round of matches that round out the club’s calendar year.
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We have known for some time that Thursday will be the decision day Die Nationalmannschaft Director Hansi Flick, but there are always likely to be heartwarming stories for some and unwanted surprises for others.
In attack, Germany have been looking for a top-flight solution for several years and Flick has opted to pick two in-form players at the lower end of the age spectrum who weren’t necessarily on the radar a few months ago.
At 29, Nicolas Volkrog doesn’t look like a flashy footballer today, but he has a knack in front of goal. That’s more than the 10 goals he has scored for Werder Bremen this season, five of which have come in the final five minutes of games, while three have come from the air. Volkrug may have zero international experience, but he is a seasoned professional, a line leader, a focal point and, frankly, the type of veteran German player needs in certain situations at the World Cup.
Like Volkrug, 17-year-old Yusuf Mokoko was unsure of his place in the squad at the start of the season, but the Borussia Dortmund star has adjusted his form perfectly with the aim of taking points from Flick. His two brilliant goals in a 2-0 win over VfL Bochum last week boosted his cause and there have been other big moments in the Bundesliga, such as a late Bundesliga winner. Revierderby And the all-important goal to bring Dortmund back into contention in a 2-2 draw against Bayern Munich.
Injuries to Timo Werner and Lukas Nemcha in the past few days made the verdict in their favor.
For Mario Götze, the man who etched his name into German football folklore by aiming to win the 2014 World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro, it would have to be a sophist. Götze has gone five years without playing for Germany, with health problems at the root of his early absences.
A spell in Holland with PSV Eindhoven boosted his confidence, but a summer move to Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt is what has really boosted the 30-year-old. Frankfurt signed Gotze to help beat deep-seated, defensive-minded opponents, and Flick pointed to his quality as well as his ability to play consecutive games this term, praising his big personality. .
Clearly, Marco Reus would be in the squad if he could win his race against time on the fitness front. Reus has been the unluckiest German player of his generation, missing major tournaments in 2014, 2016, 2021 and now 2022.
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Flick also clearly explained the position of Florian Wirths. The Bayer Leverkusen talent has only recently returned to training after missing most of the year with a torn ACL, and it would be more beneficial for him to stay in the squad. Automatically And get ready to start January again. A wise decision all around, as it would have been a foolish move to rush him.
Opinions differ on veteran defender Mats Hummels. The 33-year-old player is having a great season in Dortmund, but he couldn’t get that result. Fleck explained his reasoning by saying that the coaching staff generally believes in a vision for the future. It is worth noting that Germany will host Euro 2024 and is expected to be one of the candidates for the championship. Tournament experience for a young player now can pay off big later.
Antonio Rudiger is, in his own words, Flick’s head of defence, and in Nico Schloeterbeck (Hummels’ teammate at BVB) Germany has someone with pace as well as tenacity. Flick denied that Hummels’ penchant for outspoken criticism of the team’s underperformance had anything to do with it. It’s a big call, but Hummels has lost his pace and was supposed to be the fifth-choice centre-back, and it doesn’t make sense to have such a big face in such a low position.
There are a host of other good options in that position, although Southampton’s Armel Bela Kochap could be considered a surprise, as is RB Leipzig’s Lukas Klostermann, who has been out through injury since day one. The title was considered a surprise. Klostermann’s versatility has been the deciding factor here, as right-back remains a relative weak position for Germany. The fact that Nicolas Sule recently played there for BVB could also help.
There were no shocks on the goalkeeping front, with Manuel Neuer and Marc-Andre Terstegen joining Frankfurt’s Kevin Trapp. Flake said, unlike other countries that have chosen four goalkeepers, he feels three goalkeepers is enough in this case.
If there’s one player who could be a wild card for Germany, it’s Dortmund’s Karim Ademi. His ability to cut in from the right wing with his left foot combined with his speed and finishing ability make him a “weapon” in Flick’s words.
Bayern Munich’s Thomas Müller will be a key player on and off the field in his fourth World Cup, and although he is currently on the injured list, Flick hopes to have him in the squad for the pre-tournament friendly against Oman. Minus Müller, Germany Rekordmeister Bayern’s Serge Gnabry scored a hat-trick against one of his former clubs on Tuesday with a 6-1 win over Werder Bremen. Bayern is a guarantee to go to this team winter break At the top of the table, Union Berlin twice lost their lead against FC Augsburg and had to settle for a 2-2 draw.
Dortmund lost 2-0 against Wolfsburg and now lose 3-1 on goal difference to third-placed Leipzig. Frankfurt finished fourth after an attacking festival against TSG Hoffenheim, with outstanding contributions from Gotze, Randal Kolo-Moani and especially the irresistible Jesper Lindström.
The seemingly never-ending action will finally stop on Sunday after three more Bundesliga days. Fleck will have to hope more than anything that every member of his 26-man squad avoids injury this weekend.