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Germany World Cup squad: Götze and Moukoko in, Hummels out

Matt Ford | Kyle McKinnon
November 10, 2022

Hansi Flick has recalled Germany's 2014 World Cup hero Mario Götze alongside teenager Youssoufa Moukoko and surprise package Niclas Füllkrug. There's no place for veteran defender Mats Hummels or the injured Marco Reus.

Mario Götze in action for Eintracht Frankfurt this season
Look who's back: Mario Götze is back in Germany's World Cup squadImage: Rene Schulz/IMAGO

Mario Götze, Germany's 2014 World Cup winning goalscorer, is back in the national team after being nominated as part of Hansi Flick's 26-man squad for Qatar 2022.

For Götze, 30, it represents the culmination of a long road back to form via two seasons in the Netherlands with PSV Eindhoven and an impressive first half of the season back in the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt this year.

Also among the nominees are teenage sensation Youssoufa Moukoko, who has netted six goals for Borussia Dortmund this season, and surprise package Niclas Füllkrug, the Bundesliga's highest-scoring German having scored ten goals for newly promoted Werder Bremen.

Alongside mainstays Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané (both Bayern Munich) and Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Moukoko and Füllkrug are tasked with filling the hole left by injured striker Timo Werner in a squad short on experienced strikers.

"We are looking forward to both of them," Flick said at a news conference announcing the squad. "They can give us something special."

Injury agony for Reus, 'disappointment' for Hummels

There was more injury woe, however, for Marco Reus. The talismanic Borussia Dortmund captain has only ever made three World Cup appearances, all during Germany's disastrous 2018 group stage campaign in Russia, and it was reported earlier on Thursday morning that the 33-year-old's injured ankle hasn't effectively responded to treatment.

Also absent, although not through injury, is veteran defender Mats Hummels, with Flick opting instead for BVB teammates Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck plus Matthias Ginter (SC Freiburg) and Antonio Rüdiger (Real Madrid) in central defense.

Taking to Instagram, Hummels, 33, called the decision "one of the biggest disappointments of my career," with Flick insisting that he hadn't opted "against Mats, but rather in favor of younger players."

Continuing that trend, 20-year-old defender Armel Bella Kotchap, currently playing his football with Southampton in the Premier League, is another surprise call-up at the back.

Germany's midfield, on the other hand, is stocked with familiar faces including Bayern Munch quartet Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Jamal Musiala and Thomas Müller, plus Dortmund's Julian Brandt and Manchester City's Ilkay Gündogan. A step-up in form is expected from Karim Adeyemi (BVB).

Germany head coach Hansi Flick announcing his World Cup squad at a press conference
Hansi Flick is hoping that Youssoufa Moukoko and Niclas Füllkrug can fill the gap left by Timo Werner up front, while also promising that Germany will not close their eyes to bigger issues in Qatar.Image: Hasan Bratic/DeFodi Images/picture alliance

Flick: 'We will not duck away from human rights situation'

Germany will depart for a short training camp in Oman on Monday with a tune-up game against Oman on Wednesday, before moving into their Qatar base camp the next day.

"We are looking forward to the World Cup but we also know what is happening in Qatar," Flick said in reference to the ongoing human rights debate around the country. Earlier this week, Qatar's official World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman had caued outrage when he told German broadcaster ZDF that homosexuality was "haram" - a sin.

Flick said his players should concentrate on sport "but we will also talk about the human rights situation. We will not duck away. That's what we stand for."

Germany's first match is November 23 against Japan. They will also play Spain and Costa Rica in Groupe E hoping to avoid a repeat of their 2018 effort when the four-time World Cup champions were eliminated in the group stage.

The Germany squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Defenders: Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Antonio Rüdiger (Real Madrid), Niklas Süle (Borussia Dortmund), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Thilo Kehrer (West Ham United), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Lukas Klostermann, Armel Bella Kotchap (Southampton), Christian Günter (Freiburg)

Midfielders: Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala, Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Müller (all Bayern Munich), Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Mario Götze (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Strikers: Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund), Niklas Füllkrug (Werder Bremen), Karim Adeyemi (Borussia Dortmund)

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