German national coach Jürgen Klinsmann announced his 23 member squad at a press conference today, on May 15, 2006. Arunava Chaudhuri looks at the composition of the German team, which does include some surprises.
David Odonkor makes it to the German squad
The German squad was announced at an official press conference in the German capital Berlin at 13.00 CET by national coach Klinsmann. The 23 final team members were introduced through a video presentation to the media representatives. And the presentation did include one or two surprises.
Odonkor in, Kuranyi out
The biggest surprise is the inclusion of rookie winger David Odonkor from Borussia Dortmund in the place of experienced striker Kevin Kuranyi from FC Schalke 04.
"Odonkor can give us something we are missing," Klinsmann said at the press conference.
The 22 year old Odonkor has been playing since 1998 for Borussia Dortmund and has been a regular in the German U21 team. Odonkor, who is known as a speedy winger, was himself surprised at the call-up and was said to be really proud to be part of the World Cup team.
Meanwhile, many saw the exclusion of Kevin Kuranyi coming. He had a bad first season at Schalke 04 though scoring 10 goals. He was never able to convince anyone with his game. And the final result was his omission.
Bayer 04 Leverkusen defender Jens Nowotny makes a comeback into the German national team. 32 year old Nowotny, who has had a great backend to the season, gives the young German defence some much-needed experience after Christian Wörns had been excluded by Klinsmann earlier in the year. Nowotny had played his last international at the Euro 2004 in Portugal and has had four crucial ligament operations over the years.
"Jens Nowotny brings a lot of experience. He has played in a lot of tournaments and knows what it takes," Klinsmann said. "We need different alternatives in central defence as (Christoph) Metzelder is still struggling with injury."
No other surprises
Otherwise the squad had no real surprises, except that besides Kuranyi his Schalke 04 team mate Fabian Ernst was left out along with Werder Bremen defender and winger Patrick Owomoyela, who had been part of Klinsmann’s expanded squad over the last two years. The above mentioned trio plus goalkeeper Robert Enke, defender Manuel Friedrich and midfielder Paul Freier have been named as stand-by players in case anyone has to be replaced ahead of the World Cup. Klinsmann can call-up a replacement 24 hours before the opening match on June 9 in Munich against Costa Rica.
On the day his transfer from FC Bayern Munich to FC Chelsea London was made official, Michael Ballack retained the German captaincy and will lead a young German squad into the tournament. Ballack will have to shoulder a lot of the hopes and expectations of German fans and media.
Goalkeepers: 1-Jens Lehmann (FC Arsenal London), 12-Oliver Kahn (FC Bayern München), 23-Timo Hildebrand (VfB Stuttgart)
Defenders: 3-Arne Friedrich (Hertha BSC Berlin), 17-Per Mertesacker (Hannover 96), 4-Robert Huth (FC Chelsea London), 21-Christoph Metzelder (Borussia Dortmund), 6-Jens Nowotny (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), 16-Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München), 2-Marcell Jansen (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Midfielders: 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger (FC Bayern München), 19-Bernd Schneider (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), 8-Torsten Frings (SV Werder Bremen), 5-Sebastian Kehl (Borussia Dortmund), 18-Tim Borowski (SV Werder Bremen), 13-Michael Ballack (FC Bayern München), 15-Thomas Hitzlsperger (VfB Stuttgart) , 22-David Odonkor (Borussia Dortmund)
Forwards: 11-Miroslav Klose (SV Werder Bremen), 20-Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln), 14-Gerald Asamoah (FC Schalke 04), 10-Oliver Neuville (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach), 9-Mike Hanke (VfL Wolfsburg)
On Stand-by: Robert Enke (Hannover 96), Manuel Friedrich (FSV Mainz 05), Patrick Owomoyela (SV Werder Bremen), Fabian Ernst (FC Schalke 04), Paul Freier (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Kevin Kuranyi (FC Schalke 04)