German national team coach Joachim Löw showed he's been watching this year's Bundesliga season closely, packing his squad to face Italy with young stars from league leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Hummels and Bender (center), along with Schmelzer (right) are in the squad
Dortmund fans could have a chance to cheer on their home team on Wednesday, 9 February when Italy comes to the Signal Iduna Park to play Germany. Joachim Löw named five players from Borussia Dortmund to the national team roster for the match.
Löw chose Dortmund defenders Mats Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer, along with midfielders Sven Bender, Mario Götze and Kevin Grosskreutz for the squad. It is the first time Bender has been tapped to play for Germany, and none of his four club teammates have more than two caps for Germany.
“The Dortmund players have played consistently well,” said Löw, explaining why he’d picked so many from the club, adding that they were “the best in the league when it comes to switching from defense to attack, and they get forward quickly.”
Löw is spoiled for choice at nearly every position these days
Despite the emphasis on young Dortmund players, the Germany squad still includes many familiar faces. World Cup 2010 stars like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm, Mesut Özil, Thomas Müller, and Sami Khedira are on board, and many expect them to be in the starting eleven on Wednesday.
That stiff competition all over the pitch means some of the Dorttmund youngsters might not get the chance to play. But some choice words from Löw on two Dortmund players may have tipped the coach’s hand.
“Mats Hummels convinces me more and more over time,” said Löw of the Dortmund defender he has selected twice before. Since his last cap in against Sweden in November, “he’s only become stronger,” said Löw.
“Let’s no go on too long about Mario Götze,” said Löw, when asked about the 18-year-old attacking midfielder. “We can all see what skill and intelligence he has as a player.”
The full squad:
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Schalke 04), Rene Adler (Bayer Leverkusen)
Defenders: Arne Friedrich (VfL Wolfsburg), Dennis Aogo (Hamburger SV), Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Jerome Boateng (Manchester City), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund), Heiko Westermann (Hamburger SV)
Midfielders: Mario Götze (Borussia Dortmund), Kevin Großkreutz (Borussia Dortmund), Sven Bender (Borussia Dortmund), Mesut Özil (Real Madrid), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Christian Träsch (VfB Stuttgart)
Forwards: Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich), Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich), Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln)
Author: Matt Hermann (dpa, SID)
Editor: Mark Hallam