In his bid to repair a damaged reputation, Germany coach Joachim Löw promised that "2019 would be a year of new beginnings." His latest squad selection reflects that statement, but which players will he build around?
Last year was a year to forget for Germany, preferably as quickly as possible.
With their reputation in tatters after an early upset at the World Cup in Russia and a mountain of unnecessary talking points piling up off the pitch, Joachim Löw's squad are desperate for a fresh start.
While the manner in which Löw went about ending the international careers of Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Müller was all wrong, the intent to find the next generation of stars capable of filing their shoes was not.
Germany's last performance against the Netherlands, which was spellbinding at times before Löw made second-half substitutions, gave fans a glimpse of the untapped potential German football has on the international stage.
Given their early induction into the senior side, there are players at Löw's disposal that could shape the future for years to come — not as the next Philipp Lahms, Mesut Özils or Thomas Müllers, but as a new wave of exciting talent ready to bring fresh impetus and fresh ideas to the table.
Lukas Klostermann, Niklas Stark and Maximilian Eggestein are the fresh faces drafted in from the successful Under-21 setup, but which future figureheads will make up the core as Germany look to crack the cocoon of their latest transformation with Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup in mind?
Marc-André ter Stegen
While Manuel Neuer has been making headlines for injuries and individual errors this season, clips of ter Stegen making unthinkable saves have become commonplace on social media. His performance in Barcelona's 3-0 win over Real Madrid in March's El Clasico alone drew widespread praise from all corners of the globe.
Löw continues to stand by his man when it comes to Neuer's No. 1 status. However, given the fate that befell his Bayern teammates a week ago, if the 32-year-old carries over his domestic form into the national team the calls to instate ter Stegen are only going to increase in volume.
Having usurped Hummels and Boateng in Bayern's back-line hierarchy and now in the national team setup, Süle's status as Germany's first-choice center back appears to be set in stone. Assuming the mantle is simply in keeping with his incredible rise to prominence.
The 23-year-old boasts freakish pace for a man of his size, a well-educated understanding of the game and the composure to perform in big moments. Despite only picking up four wins in his 16 appearances to date, Süle has the potential to be a permanent fixture in the next four major tournaments.
In the eyes of many, he's the best right back in world football. In the eyes of Joachim Löw though, Kimmich is the natural successor in the Sami Khedira role aimed at providing the defensive balance for a playmaking partner.
The way in which the 24-year-old reads the game is a quality Löw greatly admires, as he did with Lahm back in the day. Unlike the World Cup winning captain though, Kimmich is a vocal leader out on the pitch who is quicker to get his feathers get ruffled. It's that tenacity which makes him such a key component in an otherwise young and mild-mannered side.
The youngest of the bunch at 19 years old, it's impossible not to be excited about the heights that Havertz has the potential to hit on the domestic circuit and with the German national team. He skipped the under-21 level entirely, making his debut off the bench against Peru before being handed his first start in the 3-0 win over Russia.
The youngest player to reach 50 Bundesliga appearances, Havertz brings box-to-box abilities that Germany were sorely lacking in 2018 to compliment his creative flair, which is capable of making the real impact in the final third. Most importantly perhaps is that Leverkusen's rising star hasn't been tainted by the doom and gloom that hung over the national team in 2018.
Germany's lack of strikers, a problem which goes back to before the 2014 World Cup triumph, have been well documented. Mario Gomez had the goal scoring caliber, but didn't fit the system, while Özil, Müller and Mario Götze were the complete opposite when played as the lone striker.
Too often it was a case of "false nein" ("false no") instead of "false nine," and Werner is a player Löw should build around even if it's not in the traditional No. 9 role. Werner's propensity to drift out wide before cutting inside creates space and keeps opponents guessing. That allows Germany's frightening front line to inject pace and flexibility as they dovetail in a less rigid setup.