5 Players with an Outside Chance of Making Germany's World Cup Squad
On May 13 in Hamburg, the German national team will take on Poland as part of their preparation for the World Cup.
Unfortunately, coach Joachim Low will likely be without a majority of the 23 players that should make up the squad travelling to Brazil.
The German Cup final between Bayern Munich and Dortmund, along with the FA Cup final containing Germany’s contingent at Arsenal, means Low could be without 18 players.
It could get even worse if Hamburg end up having to play in the relegation play-off around that time, meaning that the original 18 could turn into 22.
Not only does that put Low in the uncomfortable position of missing essentially the entire core of his team during a crucial preparation period but it also means he will have to call up an entirely new squad.
Within that, though, will be opportunities for players who are otherwise kept out of the squad by Germany’s deep talent pool.
With such an opportunity can come surprise performances that could mean a place in the final 23 that will get on a plane to Brazil.
With that said, let us look at some of the German players who have been on the outside looking in, but whose good performances this season could well result in surprise inclusions in Brazil.
The first may be unfamiliar even to Germany fans. In fact, Mustafi does not even play in the Bundesliga. The 22-year-old defender is currently plying his trade in Italy at Sampdoria, who he joined on a free transfer in 2012.
Mustafi has been Sampdoria's first-choice centre-back this season and impressed to the point that Low called him up for Germany's friendly against Chile in February this year. Having represented Germany at every level from the U16 up Mustafi's transition to the senior side would be an organic one.
With so many players unavailable, Low will definitely call him up for the Poland friendly. Able to play in the centre as well as out wide on the right, Mustafi may also become a realistic option come Brazil.
Another unlikely name and candidate. Two years ago Ostrzolek was in the second division with VfL Bochum. This season he has been one of the best left-backs in the Bundesliga and vying for a European spot with FC Augsburg.
Ostrzolek already has seven assists to his name in the league this season, and the consistency in his performances definitely warrants national team consideration. The 23-year-old former Germany U21 international is quick and combines well with attackers.
Considering Germany's lack of options at the left-back position and the inconsistent form of the likes of Marcel Schmelzer and Marcel Jansen, Ostrzolek could fill an important vacuum come Brazil. Low would be wise to give the Augsburg defender a try and see whether he can transfer his club form to the international level.
A team-mate of Ostrzolek, Hahn has been the standout player in Augsburg's historic campaign. The right-winger already has 10 goals and nine assists to his name in all competitions and is the linchpin in Augsburg's attack.
Hahn has attracted interest from big clubs around the league and was signed by Borussia Monchengladbach last month. His speed (said by many to be the quickest player in Germany), coupled with his strength in one-on-one situations and nose for goal make him an easy option for Germany's style of play.
Low called up Hahn for the first time for the friendly against Chile but was an unused substitute. With so many key attacking players out next month, however, there is every chance Hahn will be given another chance, perhaps even the start.
If his international form resembles his club form in any way Hahn could well sneak into the squad for Brazil.
Since Manuel Neuer's departure Schalke have been struggling to replace him, but in Fahrmann they finally found a worthy successor. Since being made the undisputed No. 1 by coach Jens Keller he has been lights out for the club.
In fact, only Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery are rated higher in the Bundesliga this season than Fahrmann by German publication kicker. Fahrmann has been particularly impressive in Schalke's biggest games against rivals Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid in the Champions League.
Rene Adler and Ron-Robert Zieler have not been at their best this season, and that may open up an opportunity to Fahrmann should Low deem him worthy of a call-up. Based on this season's form he would certainly deserve it.
The last inclusion, unsurprisingly, is another left-back candidate. Durm has been one of the biggest success stories in German football this season. Prior to this year he had no experience at the senior level. Not only that, but in his youth he was trained primarily as a striker.
Suffice to say, when Jurgen Klopp decided to make him Borussia Dortmund's left-back in Schmelzer's absence many were taken aback. But Durm grabbed the opportunity and has improved as the season progressed.
Durm had perhaps his best performance in the Champions League second-leg quarter-final against Real Madrid and also excelled against Bayern Munich a couple of days later. Durm may be inexperienced but he is quick, technical and makes up in all areas the other left-back choices lack.
It would be a risky move but testing Durm could be one of the most rewarding choices Low makes ahead of Brazil.