Germany delivered a surprise call-up to Borussia Dortmund teenager Youssoufa Moukoko in their World Cup squad on Thursday as 2014 World Cup winner Mario Goetze marked a sensational return to the established national team after five years.
Germany coach Hansi Flick announced his 26-man squad for the tournament in Qatar from 20 November, including 17-year-old Moukoko, who has scored six goals in the Bundesliga this season.
“Youssoufa is a lively and fast player. We are very happy for him,” Flick said. Werder Bremen striker Niclas Fuellkrug also earned a place after a stellar season with 10 goals so far and following the absence of injured Timo Werner and Lukas Nmecha.
But the return of 30-year-old midfielder Goetze is sure to grab the headlines with the final goalscorer from 2014 back at his best with a return to the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt this season. “Mario Goetze is there. 2017 was the last time. Mario is totally happy and so are we to have him. We all know that he is an exceptional player. He has been performing at a very high level in the last couple of matches,” Flick said at a news conference.
Bayern Munich provided a solid midfield with Thomas Mueller, teenager Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will manage the team and remains the first choice for the fourth World Cup in a row. Four-time winners Germany are looking to make amends for their 2018 upset first-round loss and start their Group E matches against Japan on November 23.
They will then face Spain four days later and Costa Rica on December 1. Germany will leave for Oman on Monday, where it will play its final warm-up match on November 16 before flying to Doha. Dortmund captain Marco Reus and defender Mats Hummels, however, missed a chance as the former failed to recover in time from yet another injury.
Reus had also missed the 2014 World Cup after suffering an injury on the eve of his departure to Brazil, where he won the title. “He tried everything to catch this train. It hurts us because we could have used his quality,” Flick said.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Defenders: Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Antonio Ruediger (Real Madrid), Niklas Suele (Borussia Dortmund), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Thilo Kehrer (West Ham United), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Lukas Klostermann, Armel Bella Kotchap (Southampton ) ), Christian Guenter (Freiburg)
Midfielders: Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala, Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Mueller (all Bayern Munich), Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Mario Goetze (Eintracht ). Frankfurt)
Strikers: Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund), Niklas Fuellkrug (Werder Bremen), Karim Adeyemi Borussia Dortmund) (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris and Toby Davis)