The Germany national team begins the European Championship year and heads into the World Cup 2022 qualifiers with two new faces and five returnees. National coach Joachim Löw named a total of 22 outfield players and four goalkeepers for the three upcoming World Cup qualifiers in Group J, which will be held in Duisburg and Bucharest. An important criterium for the selection of the squad was the same as for the national team’s matches last year which also took place during the coronavirus pandemic – the consideration of strict hygiene restrictions.
FC Bayern München’s 18-year-old Jamal Musiala has been called up for the first time as well as 17-year-old Florian Wirtz of Bayer Leverkusen. Eintracht Frankfurt’s Amin Younes, who made his last appearance for Germany against Azerbaijan in the World Cup qualifiers in October 2017 has been called back into the squad. He won the Confederations Cup with Germany in Russia in summer 2017. Marc-André ter Stegen (FC Barcelona), Emre Can (Borussia Dortmund), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig) and Kai Havertz (Chelsea) have also all made a return to the squad since the last international fixtures in November 2020. The players are scheduled to arrive in Düsseldorf on Monday at midday.
National coach Joachim Löw says: “With three matches in seven days, we have another tightly-packed schedule ahead of us. But what we know is that we want to start the year of the European Championship with a bang and give the fans something to cheer about again. Our goal is to secure three wins to give us a good standing in the World Cup qualifiers. Of course, we also have the European Championship in mind. We want to see in the training sessions and the matches which players are pushing hard, who really wants to go to the tournament. We’re really happy, of course, that our players from the English Premier League can join us in Duisburg and Bucharest.”
The Germany internationals active in the Premier League are allowed to join die Mannschaft after agreement from the public health department of Duisburg and in accord with the currently applicable coronavirus travel restrictions in North Rhine-Westphalia. This agreement, however, is an exception to the normal rules for arrivals to Germany from the UK in order to carry out a job. It is not solely for the upcoming international matches.
In addition to the PCR and daily rapid antigen tests, the players must also observe a so-called “working quarantine”, which means that they must stay within the current “bubble”. For example, times around mealtimes also count so that the team has no potential for contact with others outside the actual matches, training and team talks.
On the call-ups of Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz, Löw says: “We are excited to get to know Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz a bit better. They have earnt their places in the squad with their recent strong performances. However, as with all young players, we have a responsibility to take them to the next level with care. Both have a huge amount of potential and I am certain that we will have a lot of highs with them over the next few years. But at the moment we shouldn’t rush anything, they should be able to develop unburdened. I think that the coming days will be a good experience for Jamal and Florian.”
Die Mannschaft will open their World Cup 2022 qualification campaign in Duisburg on 25th March with a match against Iceland (KO 20:45 CET). The away game against Romania in Bucharest will follow on 28th March (KO 20:45 CEST). The third match will again take place in Duisburg – this time against North Macedonia – on 31st March (KO 20:45 CEST).
The last international game between Germany and Iceland took place almost 18 years ago, a match in Hamburg which Germany won 3-0. In total Germany have won three of four meetings with Iceland and one ended with a draw. Die Mannschaft’s record against Romania is also positive: Germany have won eight of 13 the matches, most recently a 3-1 win in Cologne in September 2007. Three of matches have ended in a draw. North Macedonia are set to become the 92nd country against which Germany have played. The two countries have never faced each other to date.