BERLIN: Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann on Thursday announced a much changed 26-man squad for their upcoming March friendlies, saying he wanted to bring a “fresh breeze” to the team three months out from the country hosting Euro 2024.

The 36-year-old brought back 2014 World Cup winners Manuel Neuer and Toni Kroos, leaving out 11 of the players he selected in his previous squad last November.

Nagelsmann said he was focused on picking players with “momentum” and to bring a “fresh breeze” into the squad, insisting “the door is not closed for anyone”.

Nagelsmann’s side face France in Lyon on March 23 and the Netherlands in Frankfurt three days later. Germany open the Euros on June 14 against Scotland in Munich.

Germany have struggled in the lead-up to the tournament.

The three-time European champions won just three of 11 games in 2023 on the back of a group-stage exit at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, a run which saw Hansi Flick become the first coach in Germany history to be sacked.

Several established players have been left out, including Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Mats Hummels and Niklas Suele, while Leroy Sane has not been named due to suspension.

Kroos is one of three 2014 World Cup winners to be included in the squad alongside Neuer and Thomas Muller.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Oliver Baumann (Hoffenheim), Bernd Leno (Fulham), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona); Defenders: Waldemar Anton (Stuttgart), Benjamin Henrichs (RB Leipzig), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Robin Koch (Eintracht Frankfurt), Maximilian Mittelstaedt (Stuttgart), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen); Midfielders: Robert Andrich (Bayer Leverkusen), Chris Fuehrich (Stuttgart), Jan Niklas-Beste (Heidenheim), Pascal Gross (Brighton and Hove Albion), Ilkay Gundogan (Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Aleksandar Pavlovic (Bayern Munich), Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen); Forwards: Maximilian Beier (Hoffenheim), Niclas Fuellkrug (Borussia Dortmund), Kai Havertz (Arsenal), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Deniz Undav (Stuttgart).

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2024

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