Even before the players nominated to his latest Germany squad arrived in Düsseldorf on Tuesday, Joachim Löw warned those on the fringes needed to convince him that they should be on the plane when it leaves for Russia in June.
“Before we name the final World Cup squad, we want to see and feel that the players put our goals above everything else and give everything they’ve got to achieve them,” Löw said after he arrived that the team hotel on Monday. “If we want to be successful in Russia, we will have to have an unconditional hunger for success.”
With 26 players, Löw has named a relatively large squad for these two friendlies, meaning that at least three of them won’t make it to Russia – and probably more than that, assuming that first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and the oft-injured Marco Reus regain fitness in time for the World Cup. Also notably absent from the latest squad is Reus’ Dortmund teammate Mario Götze.
The fact that just eight players from Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning team are included in the latest squad is a reflection of Löw’s policy of gradual renewal based not on a player’s history, but his current form and fitness. Seventeen were part of the relatively young team that won last year’s Confederations Cup in Russia.