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Germany's Euro squad reveal highlights connection campaign

May 16, 2024

Germany's football squad for Euro 2024 has been decided. The manner of the announcement is in line with a recent push to create closeness between the country and its football team.

Maximilian Mittelstädt celebrates his first goal for Germany
Maximilian Mittelstädt (second from left) is a part of Germany's Euro 2024 squadImage: Federico Gambarini/dpa/picture alliance

Germany's Euro 2024 squad has been announced, with uncapped Bayern Munich midfielder Aleksandar Pavlovic, Hoffenheim's forward Maximilian Beier and Stuttgart forward Chris Führich the big surprise inclusions.

Alongside veterans Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Toni Kroos and captain Ilkay Gündogan, the preliminary squad also included Führich's Stuttgart teammates striker Deniz Undav and defenders Waldemar Anton and Maximilian Mittelstädt. Leon Goretzka, Mats Hummels and Julian Brandt were surprise omissions, with head coach Julian Nagelsmann preferring the aforementioned Pavlovic and Eintracht Frankfurt's Robin Koch.

The 27-man squad will be reduced to the tournament maximum of 26 by June 7 at the latest, when Germany play their final friendly before the Euros. Nagelsmann confirmed however, that all four goalkeepers will go to the Euros, meaning one outfield player will likely be dropped.

But the manner in which the German Football Association (DFB) announced the squad caused perhaps even more of a stir than the choice of players.

DFB continue connection campaign

Germany's Euro 2024 squad was progressively announced over the course of a few days across a range of platforms. Borussia Dortmund defender Nico Schlotterbeck's nomination was released on Germany's oldest and most watched news channel. Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah was presented on a cake handed to a 93-old-lady called "Grandma Lotti" by caregiver and TikTok star Rashid Hamid. A roofer and another social media star announced Manuel Neuer, then a major radio station revealed Niclas Füllkrug's inclusion, before Chris Führich's face was shown on a sticker on a bag of baked goods at a bakery.

Whether it was YouTubers, podcasters, musicians, game show hosts or even a portrait in an art gallery — the news was delivered in a way that covered all fields, demographics and, seemingly, all walks of German life.

"The special thing is this is a home Euros," Nagelsmann said at the announcement. "That's why it was a great idea to do it gradually. We noticed recently that information was getting through, so we took the matter into our own hands. Everyone in the country should idenfity with this team. I really thought it [the announcement] was great, at times emotional."

This is in stark contrast to previous squad announcements. Both Hansi Flick's 2022 World Cup squad and the 2021 Euros squad and were announced at standard, formal press conferences. In 2018, Germany branched out a bit by announcing the squad at the country's football museum in Dortmund, which was covered in giant Panini stickers that later unveiled the 23 players involved.

Germany's summer fairy tale 2.0

While it may appear unusual, the decision is not only an attempt, as Nagelsmann said, to reduce selection leaks, but also to fall in line with the recent approach from Germany's marketing department, which all started with the release of the team's new kit in March.

The home white kit with a modern twist on the national colors of red, black and yellow was combined with a pink away uniform.

The former caused a stir because it was released following a campaign discussing what it means to be typically German. Answers included cheering for two teams at the tournament — a hat tip to the diversity of Germany's population — how Germans being on time was, in reality, a fallacy, doner kebabs (but not spicy), Müller being the most common surname and winning on penalties.

The pink away kit caused a stir because of its color, with the campaign for the new uniform eliciting the predictable negative responses — more fashion than football, made for women, not a kit for legends — in a manner that equally tapped into the current German zeitgeist.

But the opening sales of the away kit were the best ever for a Germany away kit, and it seems the manner of announcing the squad has continued a conversation across the country about what this team represents.

Time for heroes

The 2006 World Cup in Germany, a tournament in which the hosts unexpectedly reached the semifinals, was a turning point for the country.

"In 2006, the power of football meant that a skeptical, not risk-averse, but security-fanatical people really opened their arms and celebrated a big party," sociologist and football fan Thomas Druyen told DW.

Eighteen years later, Germany are hosting the men's Euros and the team is looking to spark a similar sense of collectiveness around the country. The question is, can that feeling from all those summers be replicated today, with a different atmosphere around the country?

"I would wish for nothing more," said Druyen. "However, I would rule nothing out at the moment because the social conditions are not in favor of it and neither is our willingness to grow beyond ourselves. Our society is deeply frustrated. Letting go from such a mood is only possible — if at all — if Germany reaches the final."

The names of the country's potential football heroes are now known across the country, unavoidable on front pages, social media timelines or radio stations. The subconscious registering of the next Mario Götze, Andi Brehme or Helmut Rahn has begun. The only thing left is for Germany to deliver on the field.

Edited by: Chuck Penfold

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