uAt 12:08 p.m. on Thursday, Hansi Flick’s “Geheimsache Qatar” was aired. Unlike the excitement about the homophobic statements by World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman in the ZDF documentary of the same name, the campus of the German Football Association (DFB) was primarily about sporting issues before the controversial tournament in the emirate, the starts in ten days. The question about the German squad for the World Cup has now been answered. The national coach nominated 26 players. Mats Hummels, Marco Reus, Florian Wirtz and Robin Gosens are not there.
“We have a very good squad that gives us many opportunities,” said Flick thirteen days before the start against Japan on November 23 (2:00 p.m. CET in the FAZ live ticker for the World Cup, on ARD and on MagentaTV) in the simple press conference, which clearly stood out from previous productions at nomination shows. The focus is on three names who will be in Qatar: Mario Götze, the winning goalscorer in the 2014 World Cup final, who was called up again after five years, and Niclas Füllkrug and Youssoufa Moukoko, who are in the squad for the first time.
On Thursday, Flick raved about Götze, who had returned to the Bundesliga from Eindhoven in the summer and made a significant contribution to Eintracht Frankfurt’s national and international flight. “Mario is a brilliant footballer who has flashes of inspiration. He was at a very, very high level lately. Now he’s in great shape, he can walk 90 minutes three times a week.” Even if Götze had been out of the national team’s field of vision for a while, Flick always had him on his personal radar. “We had been in contact for a long time,” said the national coach.
Also in focus were two who have never been called up for the country’s first team: Füllkrug, the 29-year-old from Bremen, who has already scored ten goals in the Bundesliga this season, and Dortmund’s Moukoko, just 17-years-old, who recently got used to the high level of men’s football. “Both have made good progress. Niclas has the momentum on his side. Youssoufa is fast, lively and has a good degree. We’re looking forward to seeing him.” Flick didn’t want to reveal which specific role both will play.
Karim Adeyami is also there, although he has not yet fully convinced after moving from Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund. His nomination may come as a surprise to some, Flick said, but then explained why the 20-year-old is still there. “He has an outstanding weapon,” said the national coach, referring to his speed. The problems have not gone unnoticed by Flick. “Dortmund promised more, he promised himself more.” But Adeyemi could “give something to the team. We expect more from him. And we accompany him so that he does it better.”
But prominent names are also missing. The fact that the attackers Timo Werner from Leipzig (syndesmosis ligament tear in the left ankle) and Lukas Nmecha (partial tear of the patella tendon) would not be there was known in advance due to the injuries they suffered recently. Marco Reus hoped to the last, but it wasn’t enough. “I appreciate Marco very much. He’s good for every team, we’ll miss him,” said Flick. “He tried everything, but an injury like this takes time. We had to decide whether to take the risk. It wasn’t clear when he could join, it hurts.” Robin Gosens is absent because he has hardly played in Italy lately. Lukas Klostermann, meanwhile, has recovered from his injury.