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Manuel Neuer in Germany's 2018 World Cup Provisional Squad, Gotze Misses out

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2018

HAMBURG, GERMANY - OCTOBER 08:  Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Germany reacts during the FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying match between Germany and Czech Republic at Volksparkstadion on October 8, 2016 in Hamburg, Germany.  (Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images)
Boris Streubel/Getty Images

Manuel Neuer has been included in Joachim Low's provisional 27-man Germany squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but there's no place for the man who scored the winning goal four years ago, Mario Gotze

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Neuer has been sidelined through injury since last September but was included in the preliminary group, announced on Tuesday, alongside the likes of Mesut Ozil, Leroy Sane, Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos, per Germany's official Twitter feed:

Germany @DFB_Team_EN

Here it is! 📋 The provisional #DieMannschaft squad for the 2018 #WorldCup! 🇩🇪🏆 #ZSMMN https://t.co/7HxNQaeU8s

Gotze, 25, netted the only goal as Germany beat Argentina 1-0 after extra time in the final of the 2014 FIFA World Cup at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana, Brazil, but he has not convinced Low he is worthy of a place in the squad this year. 

Low has until June 4 to submit his final 23-man squad that will represent Germany in Russia and attempt to become the first back-to-back World Cup winners since Brazil in 1962.

For many, Die Mannschaft are favourites for the tournament, and it is difficult to argue given the immense depth in their squad.

Even if Neuer fails to return to fitness in time to make the World Cup, Germany have Barcelona No. 1 Marc-Andre ter Stegen to call upon instead.

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BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND - OCTOBER 05: Toni Kroos of Germany during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Northern Ireland and Germany at Windsor Park on October 5, 2017 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)
Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

There is huge quality throughout the squad, from Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng in defence, to Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan in the engine room and Muller and Sane in attack.

It would be a surprise were Germany not to top Group F, although they do face some tricky fixtures.

They open their World Cup campaign against Mexico on June 17, before fixtures against Sweden (June 23) and South Korea (June 27).

In the build-up Germany face a warm-up friendly against Austria on June 2, and another versus Saudi Arabia six days later.  

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