A good 100 days after the group knockout of the German national soccer team at the World Cup in Qatar, Hansi Flick has named his first squad for the international game year 2023. On the way to the home European Championship in 2024, the national coach will be doing without proven players such as Thomas Müller, Ilkay Gündogan, Leroy Sané, Antonio Rüdiger and Niklas Süle in the games on March 25 in Mainz against Peru and three days later in Cologne against Belgium.
Captain Manuel Neuer is not yet fit for action again after breaking his leg and is represented by Marc-André ter Stegen as number one in goal. On Friday afternoon, Flick announced which players will be there at the start of the year. The team will meet in Frankfurt am Main on Sunday evening.
Flick had already announced in advance that he would give young players a chance to prove themselves. With Josha Vagnoman (22) and 21-year-old Kevin Schade, at least two young debutants have now been invited. Full-back Vagnoman plays for VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga, but is usually only a reservist there. He has only made two substitutions in the past six games. Former Freiburg striker Kevin Schade (21) moved to Brentford FC in London in the winter. He is considered a great German hope for the future.
For striker Mergim Berisha (24), the nomination for the DFB squad is the culmination of his career to date. “He’s an exceptional final player,” said his Augsburg club coach Enrico Maaßen again in advance of the U21 European champions. Flick is looking for exactly this type of footballer after the exploitation of chances was identified as a major shortcoming at the World Cup in Qatar. With Marius Wolf from Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg’s Felix Nmecha, two other players are making their debut in the national team.
“I think a team lives from a stable core, but it also thrives on new influences. We want to see how the newcomers integrate and also those who are back. We want to see how they accept their role,” said national coach Flick in a media session on Friday afternoon. The task of a coaching team is to keep an eye out for alternatives and to give the players who are brought in the space they need to show themselves.
After almost a year and a half, Florian Wirtz is also facing an international match again. The 19-year-old from Bayer Leverkusen missed the World Cup due to a cruciate ligament tear. RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner is also returning to the DFB squad after suffering a ligament injury shortly before the tournament in Qatar.
On Monday, the team will present itself as part of a public training session at 4.30 p.m. at the Brentanobad in Frankfurt. Interested fans have to order a ticket through the DFB for organizational reasons. Admission is still free.
Goal: Bernd Leno, Marc-André ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp
Defense: Armel Bella Kotchap, Matthias Ginter, Christian Günter, Thilo Kehrer, David Raum, Nico Schlotterbeck, Josha Vagnoman, Marius Wolf
Midfield/attack: Mergim Berisha, Emre Can, Niclas Füllkrug, Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka, Mario Götze, Kai Havertz, Joshua Kimmich, Jamal Musiala, Felix Nmecha, Kevin Schade, Timo Werner, Florian Wirtz