World Cup winners Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, and Thomas Muller axed from Germany

Aditya Devavrat 21:11 05/03/2019
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Boateng, Muller, Hummels join Khedira in international exile.

Bayern Munich trio Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, and Thomas Muller are no longer in Joachim Low’s plans and will not be considered for international selection, the Germany manager revealed in a bombshell announcement on Tuesday.

All three were among of the core members of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning squad. However, the disastrous group stage exit at last year’s tournament saw many of the squad’s veterans come under fire for their performances.

Low is set to name his squad for Germany’s two upcoming internationals this month, a friendly against Serbia on March 20 and a Euro 2020 qualifier against the Netherlands four days later.

30-year-olds Hummels and Boateng and 29-year-old Muller have made a combined 246 appearances for Die Mannschaft, with Muller having won the Golden Boot at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where the then-20-year-old was also named the best young player. The forward has 38 goals in 100 appearances for his national team, finishing as Germany’s ninth-highest scorer all-time.  Centre-backs Hummels and Boateng earned 70 and 76 caps respectively.

Low flew to Munich to speak to all three players in before making the announcement.

“2019 is the year of a new start for the German national football team,” the Germany manager said.  “It was important to me personally to explain my thoughts and plans to the players and managers of FC Bayern.”

This decision could be part of a larger cull as Low looks to rebuild the squad around the country’s talented young players. 32-year-old captain Manuel Neuer, long regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, is being challenged by Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 26, while 31-year-old Sami Khedira has already been dropped.

A youthful squad led Germany to a 2017 Confederations Cup triumph, and Low was criticised for sticking with his veteran squad even after last year’s World Cup instead of relying more on the players who were part of that 2017 run. But the manager is changing direction decisively now.

“In the year of qualifying for the European Championship 2020, we are sending out a clear signal: the young national team players will have the space they need to fully develop,” said Low. “They have to take responsibility now.”

Reinhard Grindel, president of Germany’s football association, hailed Low’s move.

“I welcome the fact that he is now making decisive progress in transforming our national team and starting the qualification for Euro 2020 is the right time for personnel changes,” said Grindel.

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