20 Biggest Winners and Losers from Germany's Provisional 2014 World Cup Squad
Germany manager Joachim Loew released the 30 names on his provisional 2014 FIFA World Cup squad on Thursday, with a few surprise inclusions in the large list.
Naturally, that also meant that a few other names who were expected to feature had to miss out.
Germany will play a friendly against Poland before Loew makes his final selections, with the bad news of not making the 23-man squad to be handed to seven players before the end of the month.
Here are the biggest winners and losers from Loew's initial list.
Winner: Manuel Neuer
Germany have depth and quality in many areas of their squad, but in terms of international experience, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is one of a very small band of players who is basically guaranteed his place in the side.
His competition have just three caps between them and, barring injury or suspension, are not likely to see a single minute of action at the finals.
Winner: Roman Weidenfeller
Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller only made his international debut this season, but has managed to win himself a place in the squad as the most experienced back-up to Neuer.
Though he has just one cap to his name internationally, he has been a regular part of BVB's successful side at club level over the past few seasons, winning the Bundesliga, playing in the Champions League final and proving himself more than adept a deputy for Neuer.
Loser: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
Marc-Andre ter Stegen's career is about to come under a lot more scrutiny if he joins Barcelona this summer as expected, but he's missed out on the German squad for the finals.
Ron-Robert Zieler has been chosen as the younger goalkeeping option, with ter Stegen having to make do with a place in the squad for the friendly against Poland.
His time may come in the future to challenge Neuer, but he is at least fourth-choice right now.
Loser: Rene Adler
With one younger and one more experienced stopper going as back-up for Neuer, Rene Adler has lost out to Weidenfeller in the latter battle.
Adler has more caps to his name, having won a dozen, but the Hamburger SV keeper has seen his side struggle greatly in the Bundesliga this season and misses out on the squad.
Winner: Shkodran Mustafi
Defender Shkodran Mustafi has had a stellar year with Sampdoria in Serie A, leading to involvement with the national team late on this season.
The 22-year-old centre-back has his work cut out to make the final selection, but the absence of Holger Badstuber through injury does perhaps open up one avenue. Germany also want him for themselves rather than him representing Albania, of course.
Loser: Heiko Westermann
Experienced centre-back Heiko Westermann is another who, like Adler, has seen his Hamburg side struggle in the Bundesliga this season.
This is perhaps a contributing factor to neither being called up, as his 27 caps are more than five of the defenders in the 30-man squad and only one fewer than injury-prone Mats Hummels.
Winner: Benedikt Howedes
Benedikt Howedes is not only in the World Cup 30, but is also the single experienced defender in the squad to face Poland in the friendly before the final 23 is named.
He may be going head-to-head with Mustafi for the fourth central defensive slot. Having that extra match to showcase both his experience and quality could work entirely in his favour.
Loser: Ilkay Gundogan
Ilkay Gundogan was simply never in contention for a spot in this squad, having been out injured for the entire season.
He will be more worried about getting back to fitness and returning to his previous level, but he's still going to be disappointed after an excellent couple of 11-12 and 12-13 campaigns.
Winner: Leon Goretzka
A pair of Schalke teenagers now, with uncapped Leon Goretzka first up.
The midfielder will have a chance to show he should be a surprise inclusion in the full squad with the friendly against Poland, though of course he faces enormous competition with the established names.
One big advantage will be his versatility; Goretzka has played on both flanks this season, as well as his favoured central role.
Winner: Max Meyer
Max Meyer is the other S04 youngster in the squad who, like Goretzka, is uncapped at senior international level.
Having only really established himself this season, Meyer has proven an attacking midfielder capable of making things happen in the final third of the pitch, and should likewise get the chance to have an impact against Poland.
He has a genuine chance of going to the World Cup as Mesut Ozil's back-up.
Loser: Sidney Sam
Sidney Sam has had an impressive enough campaign with Bayer Leverkusen, though his team suffered a dip after the winter break.
However, Sam has not made the 30 after the likes of Julian Draxler were chosen ahead of him, as well as the more regular featured players such as Marco Reus and Lukas Podolski. Now aged 26, this tournament was his best shot at a World Cup place.
Winner: Lars Bender
The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder who did get selected is Lars Bender, after another terrific campaign.
Lars looks likely to get the nod as the fourth central midfielder, with his excellent athletic capacity and versatility both advantages over other contenders for the spot. With Sami Khedira's fitness not quite yet proven, there is a good chance he could play some important part for Germany at the finals.
Loser: Sven Bender
Sven Bender, on the other hand, won't be going. By now his talent is clearly seen as below that of his twin, while injury has also meant he has played no part in Dortmund's season since the end of February.
With fierce competition for places in the double pivot role, even at full fitness Sven was unlikely to get a call up. He has seven caps so far.
Winner: Kevin Volland
Striker Kevin Volland is one of six uncapped players in the Germany 30, but must believe he has a good chance of going to the finals.
Germany have named just two out-and-out strikers, though of course a number of players—Schurrle, Goetze, Podolski—can play in attack from the line of three attacking midfielders.
Volland should play against Poland in the friendly and stake his claim as an option off the bench during the tournament in Brazil.
Winner: Miroslav Klose
35-year-old forward Miroslav Klose needs just one more goal at international level to become Germany's all-time record goalscorer. He so far has 68 in 131 caps.
He also needs two goals at the World Cup to be the highest scorer in history at the finals themselves.
As an experienced impact substitute forward, there aren't many better about to call on than Klose.
Loser: Max Kruse
With 95 key passes this season, Max Kruse has created more chances than any other player in the Bundesliga in 2013-14, including the likes of Marco Reus, Franck Ribery or any other star.
He's also added 12 goals himself for Borussia Moenchengladbach, but that hasn't been enough to convince Loew to hand him a place in the list of 30. The left-footed forward has six caps and one goal at international level so far.
Loser: Mario Gomez
Striker Mario Gomez is perhaps the biggest name omitted from the German squad, after Loew adjudged him not to have played enough this season.
Despite having scored 25 goals for Germany and only two forwards being named, Gomez has been left out after making just a single 90-minute appearance since September, having suffered ligament damage and further knee injuries this term.
Winner: Sami Khedira
While Gundogan, Bender and Gomez have seen their seasons ruined by injury, Sami Khedira has managed to fight his way back from an ACL injury just in time for the season's end.
He has been monitored by Germany throughout his rehabilitation and Loew is convinced he will have recovered sufficiently to play a part at the World Cup. It's been a big motivating factor for the Real Madrid man, who could also play in the Champions League final.
Loser: Pierre-Michel Lasogga
Pierre-Michel Lasogga has to consider himself unlucky not to have been called up in the 30 at least, after he was initially named in Germany's squad to play Chile in March.
Injury ruled him out of a debut for the national team on that occasion and he only managed to play two more games this season thereafter. Lasogga scored 12 goals in 19 games during the campaign, but the 22-year-old misses out where Volland takes advantage.
Losers: Portugal, Ghana, USA
Whichever 23 make the final cut, Germany have themselves an awesome all-round squad.
Sure, there are a few weaknesses along the back line depending on who is completely fit and available, but all in all, this is one of the top squads going to the World Cup and all three group opponents are going to struggle to get near them.