7 Players Who Could Be Cut from Germany's Provisional World Cup Squad
On Thursday, the German Football Association (DFB) announced its provisional roster for the World Cup this summer in Brazil.
On the 30-player roster were many familiar names but also some surprising new faces. Experienced players such as Rene Adler and Mario Gomez were omitted while young players such as Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka were called up for the first time.
Germany coach Joachim Low now has until June 2nd to submit the final 23-man roster to FIFA with training camp starting in southern Austria at the end of the month.
With only a little over three weeks of preparation between the beginning of camp and their group-stage opener against Portugal, Low has to finalize his squad for Brazil.
Germany will play three friendlies before they leave for Brazil on June 7th and seven players will not be checking in their boarding pass.
Let us take a look at the seven players most likely to get cut from Germany's provisional roster below and why.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover).
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Erik Durm, Kevin Grosskreutz (both Borussia Dortmund), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Shkodran Mustafi (Sampdoria), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg)
Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal), Julian Draxler (Schalke), Mario Gotze (Bayern Munich), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Andre Hahn (Augsburg), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Max Meyer (Schalke), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim)
Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Lazio)
From the top it should be said that Marcell Jansen has not been helped by his team's struggling form this season.
Hamburg are currently in the relegation playoff spot with a game remaining in the league, and just about every player on the squad has experienced a dip in form as a result, including Jansen.
Goalkeeper Rene Adler was one of the biggest casualties of Hamburg's struggles as he failed to make Germany's preliminary squad, and as things stand Jansen very much stands on the fringes.
Only seven players on the provisional squad have more caps than Jansen, and his experience may be the biggest factor in his favor.
However, the rise and recent form of Borussia Dortmund's Erik Durm, along with the versatility of Kevin Grosskreutz and the rest of the defenders, puts Jansen at a disadvantage in the current pecking order.
Unless Jansen impresses in camp or injuries rule other players out do not expect Jansen to take part in his third World Cup.
With four central defenders firmly locked into place, it is difficult to see Mustafi make the final squad.
Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Per Mertesacker and Benedikt Howedes have been part of the fold for so long that, barring any injuries, all four will travel to Brazil.
As well as Mustafi has played with Sampdoria in Italy's Serie A this season, he has not been tested much at the international level.
It is highly unlikely that Low will risk a spot as vital as that on a player with as little experience as Mustafi.
That said, his nomination is a clear sign of intent that he will remain in Low's plans following the World Cup.
Durm's has been one of the revelations of the season this year in the Bundesliga. The 21-year-old left-back has slotted into Dortmund's side seamlessly and impressed in some of the team's biggest games.
And as mentioned earlier, it has given Low added options in a position where the team has normally struggled to accommodate over the years.
However, with Marcel Schmelzer recently returning from injury and normally being Low's first choice in that position along with Kevin Grosskretuz's ability to fill in at both left-back and right-back, Low will likely leave out young Durm when the squad is finalized.
There is no question that he will feature for the senior team more frequently after Brazil, but for now the tournament has come a bit too early for Durm.
Should Schmelzer struggle with his recovery and Durm impress in training camp, then Low could very well select Durm. As it stands, it is a long shot.
As one of the most promising defensive prospects in German football today, Ginter has been on the radar of the national team for a long time, and it is no surprise that Low has nominated him to the provisional roster.
Ginter has enjoyed another stellar season for Freiburg and is probably the player best able to make the transition from the youth teams to the senior side.
Having said that, like Mustafi, Ginter is a victim of Germany's depth at the center-back position. Ginter has also filled in as a defensive midfielder for Freiburg this season but is still seen primarily as a defender.
With the four center-backs just about set, Ginter has likely been called up for the experience and to get a prepare him for an extended future with the national team post-Brazil.
Ginter could be a dark horse, though, should one of the center-backs get injured and miss out, most likely even ahead of Mustafi.
Like Ginter, Mustafi and Durm, Leon Goretzka has been called up to get a taste of the senior national team rather than realistically make the cut for Brazil.
After starting as a squad player, Goretzka has firmly established himself in Schalke's first team in the second half of the season and he has been one of their standout performers.
Goretzka was labeled the next Michael Ballack coming up as a youth player, and with Bastian Schweinsteiger not getting any younger and Ilkay Gundogan's struggles to recover from his back injuries there is enough room for Goretzka to position himself in the national team in the coming years.
The World Cup in Brazil, however, has come too soon for the 19-year-old, but he will gain valuable experience training alongside the players he may one day replace.
He may be the smallest player on Germany's roster but his talent is enormous. Like his childhood idol growing up, Lionel Messi, Meyer's technical qualities have helped him excel way above his peers at an early age.
Meyer is already an established first-choice player for Schalke and was one of their best performers in his first full professional season.
Similar to his club teammate Leon Goretzka, Meyer is part of the next generation of German players that will make up the national team and they were selected to gain experience.
Also being the youngest player on the 30-player roster, Meyer is also the least likely to be taken to the World Cup.
And with so many players capable of filling his position as an attacking midfielder he will have to be content watching from home but learning every step of the way.
The final cut will come down to either Andre Hahn or Julian Draxler. Both are similar players with a similar skill set and would be used in a similar position out wide.
In the end it is probably going to be the 23-year-old Augsburg player who will have to make room for others. Hahn has been one of the standout players in the Bundesliga this season and he was deservedly included in the provisional squad.
Julian Draxler, however, was part of Germany's provisional squad ahead of the 2012 European Championships with the thought of preparing him for the World Cup squad.
Low has consistently included Draxler in his national-team plans, and his experience with Schalke in the Champions League gives him the nod ahead of Hahn.