Provisional World Cup squad announcement and Contract Extension, Dortmund Football Museum, 15 May 2018
Joachim Löw has announced his provisional 27-man squad for the World Cup, as follows:
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno, Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp
Defenders: Jerome Boateng, Jonas Hector, Matthias Ginter, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Marvin Plattenhardt, Antonio Rüdiger, Niklas Süle, Jonathan Tah
Midfielders: Julian Brandt), Julian Draxler, Leon Goretzka, Ilkay Gündogan, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Mesut Özil, Sebastian Rudy
Forwards: Mario Gomez, Thomas Müller, Nils Petersen, Marco Reus, Leroy Sane, Timo Werner
The squad must be reduced to the final 23 by 4 June.
The most controversial aspect of the squad selection proved to be the omission of Sandro Wagner with a striker's place given to uncapped Nils Petersen of Freiburg. Jogi revealed that such decisions are never easy:
"The day the nominations are revealed is always a bit split. On one hand, the players who have been named are over the moon. On the other hand, there's the disappointment of the players who didn't quite make the cut. My job as national coach is sometimes to drop a bombshell on some players' dreams. The decision is never against a particular player, but for the overall success of the team. The nomination process is complex; we discuss individual players and positions for weeks on end. We analyse and discuss it to the littlest details and in the end it's decided on the fine details. The criteria are clear - which players can deliver a top performance physically and mentally at the World Cup after a long season? The entire squad was selected based on piecing together a coherent overall picture. The team needs to function well together both on the pitch and off it. A message to the players who haven't been named in the squad: you are very, very talented footballers and great guys, you were deservedly in the first team and maybe you'll be back with us after the World Cup."
Manuel Neuer's fitness was probably the most talked about aspect of the squad in the run-up to the announcement, and, as expected, Joachim Löw included four keepers, with Manuel's fitness to be assessed during the preparation period.
"The coaching team have been in contact with Manuel almost every day for the past few weeks. We're taking four goalkeepers to South Tyrol because Manuel rejoined full training this week at Bayern Munich, which means that he can train fully with us as well. We want to assess the situation for ourselves and use the chance to observe and assess him at the training camp. We know the responsibilities we to for the team, health and the fans, as does Manuel. Is he in a position to produce the top performances we're used to? We'll make a final decision that on 4th June. Until then, we'll see how it goes each day. After South Tyrol, we'll talk openly and honestly about whether he can play at the World Cup or not. Nobody can go to such a tournament without game time - Manuel knows that. Everything is looking positive at the moment; his injury is fully healed. Manuel can cope with the full strain of training and more importantly he's our captain. We hope that he is able to come."
Golden boy Götze out of Germany's preliminary World Cup squad
The most notable omission was World Cup Final hero Mario Götze. "It wasn't necessarily his season." explained Jogi. "Of course he's an exceptionally quality player, but he just hasn't found his form this season. I hope he can start over again in Dortmund after the summer break. I'm sorry for it, it was a difficult decision to make."
The only uncapped player in the squad was in-form Freiburg striker Nils Petersen, "Nils has scored 15 Bundesliga goals for a team which hasn't created that many chances. He's made a really, really good impression on me and he's fit to play. He's proven that he's an excellent super sub. I think that he can grow from this challenge. I'm expecting great things from him."
This meant no place for Sandro Wagner and Jogi emphasised that such decisions are often decided on the "fine details" of squad selection. [Sandro's] given his all in games for us and for his club and he's a great character. We had to make a decision and that decision went in favour of other players. It was a decision for Mario Gomez and for Nils Petersen, not against Sandro Wagner."
On other players included:
Jerome Boateng: "Jerome is back in fitness training. In all probability, his injury will heal by the end of the training camp. He's a player who you can't replace like-for-like. We're doing all we can to make sure he'll be there."
Jonathan Tah: "He's made great progress and shown a real improvement in his play from the back, which is why he's earned a call-up.",br>Marco Reus: "We're happy that he's been injury-free for the last few months. He has a special knack for finding space, he's very creative and in great form. He can do extraordinary things and I'm expecting a lot from him. We have to be careful about how much he trains of course. We hope that he remains fit and then he can play a decisive part in the World Cup."
He confirmed that the selection of Emre Can was never an issue, as he had been out since March and could not be selected because of that.
Jogi also added his thoughts on the controversial photographs of Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan with Turkish present Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the publication of which had received considerable criticism both from the German media and the DFB itself.
Turkey president photos a 'lesson' for Germany's Mesut Ozil, Ilkay Gundogan - Joachim Löw
"We told them that this has not been the best idea," Löw said at a news conference on Tuesday, one day after the photos were published in Germany.Looking ahead he confirmed that the team wanted to achieve as much as they possibly could. "We are the reigning world champions and Confed Cup winners and we want to reach the final and defend our World Cup title. That's our target. We have three or four important points which we're going to focus on at the training camp. We want to show how committed we are to bringing the trophy back to Germany. The players are in good form. Of course, we assess their performances for their clubs, but also how they perform for us. All of it goes into our assessments. Our players know our philosophy. There are also players who play a different role for their club. But the transition is always fast and smooth."
"But I am also sympathetic towards them. Two hearts sometimes beat in players with an immigrant background. ... It's not that easy, and both have said they did not want to make a political statement. Both have done a lot for integration in Germany. It will be a lesson for them." and added that they will be spoken to during the training camp.
The was a rather unusual end to the press conference, with Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov appearing in hologram form!
Analysis and comment:
Shocks and surprises: Jogi Löw names his first 27 players for Russia 2018 - from schwarzundweiss.com
Joachim Löw ist ein Meister der diskreten Moderation
Freiburg striker Nils Petersen fires his way into Germany's provisional FIFA World Cup squad
Confirming reports in the press that morning, there was major news concerning the coaching team, with the extension of Jogi's contract, and that of his management team, from 2020 until 2022.
The official announcement from dfb.de:
Löw and management team extend contracts
Germany's head coach Joachim Löw added: "To continue to work with Andy Köpke, Thomas Schneider, Marcus Sorg, Oliver Bierhoff and the whole management in coaching the best players in Germany, to continue to develop them and help them to improve, to continue to build this team, to continue to strive for the biggest titles that football has to offer - that drives me and makes me just as excited as it always has. I am especially looking forward to the upcoming World Cup in Russia and the intense weeks that we have ahead of us. It is the only thing on my mind at the moment. I am thankful to president Reinhard Grindel, general secretary Freidrich Curtius and the entire DFB for the continued support and trust that they have for us and what we do."
A squad selection rarely passes without controversy, even for a World Cup winner, and this time it fell to Sandro Wagner who announced his retirement from internationl football complete with bitter sideswipe by claiming his open, honest and direct attitude did not endear him to the national team set-up. - 17 May 2018
Joachim Löw kontert Sandro Wagner: "Als wären die Spieler Vollidioten" - 18 May 2018
Joachim Löw hit back the following day saying he did not perceive Wagner's criticism to be directed at him but at the other players in the squad.
'Ridiculous:' Joachim Löw responds to Sandro Wagner criticism
"He's portraying some of our most experienced players, leaders in the squad, as complete idiots," Löw said at an event in Berlin hosted by the newspaper.Jogi speaks to the media on Wagner at the Bild100 Sport event.
"As if they're only in the squad because they don't voice their opinions? What should the likes of Mats Hummels or Jerome Boateng think of that? It's ridiculous."
"Of course I understand that he's disappointed but I think his reaction is over-the-top," continued Löw. "Everyone who works with us knows that we always encourage the players to speak their minds, to be open and honest, and to be critical. We place great value on that."
Bundestrainer als Meister der stillen Demontage - praise for Jogi, and the way he defeated Wagner in a mere two sentences. The Bundestrainer does not need to rant to defend himself against criticism, says Focus. - 19 May 2018