Who's in Joachim Low's new-look Germany squad?
Germany face Serbia (Wednesday) and Netherlands (Sunday), both live on Sky Sports
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 20/03/19 3:57pm
Only three of Germany's 2014 World Cup-winning squad survived Joachim Low's latest selection ahead of the international fixtures. Here, we look at who the new additions are, and why Low is looking to change tack...
Lukas Klostermann, Niklas Stark and Maximilian Eggestein were included in the 23-man squad for a friendly international against Serbia in Wolfsburg on Wednesday and the European Qualifier against Netherlands in Amsterdam on Sunday, both live on Sky Sports.
But only captain Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos and Matthias Ginter were part of the 2014 World Cup squad, and just over half were involved in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Low's announcement last week that he would no longer call up 2014 world champions Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller, after Germany's shock 2018 World Cup first-round exit and their Nations League relegation late last year, came as a shock.
But Low insists it's more of a shift in how they play, not who they play.
"A new cycle is starting with the Euro 2020 qualifiers and given last year's results changes are necessary," Low said.
"After the end of the Nations League, we thought about how the team should play in the next qualifiers, how it should look in 2020.
"Possession, dominance will continue. Possession football is certainly not dead, look at Manchester City or Barcelona. We need to be more focused and efficiency... and faster in attack."
So, who are the key men involved in Low's big shift?
Lukas Klostermann - defender - RB Leipzig - 0 caps
The 22-year-old right-back won silver at the Rio Olympics with Germany, and is part of the Bundesliga's best defence, conceding just 20 goals in 26 games. Comfortable attacking, Klostermann has benefitted from Joshua Kimmich's move into midfield, and was captain at U21 level.
"He'll be in the senior team in the long-term," Germany U21 coach Stefan Kuntz told Bild. "I discuss our match plans with him. We rate him very highly. In addition to his defensive duties, he's responsible for our build-up and attacks."
Maximilian Eggestein - midfielder - Werder Bremen - 0 caps
The 22-year-old midfielder will find it hard to get proper playing time with the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Leon Goretzka and Toni Kroos ahead of him in the central areas, but Eggestein's all-action style has earned him a well-deserved call-up.
His stamina is key - second only to Kimmich in the Bundesliga distance stats - and though the early-season goals have dried up, he can play either holding midfielder or 20 yards further up the pitch. A fine option for Low.
Niklas Stark - defender - Hertha Berlin - 0 caps
Having played in midfield for much of last season, the 23-year-old moved to central defence this term, and has been a key figure for the Germany U21 side. That ability on the ball is key for Low; Stark has completed nearly 90 per cent of his passes this season.
Kai Havertz - attacking midfielder - Bayer Leverkusen - 2 caps
A beneficiary of Mesut Ozil's international retirement, the 19-year-old has already made 79 appearances in the Bundesliga, scoring 13 goals. The 19-year-old came on as a late sub for his debut against Peru in August, but started in the 3-0 win over Russia in November, and looks to be a big part of Low's plans going forward.
Jonathan Tah - defender - Bayer Leverkusen - 4 caps
Another Bayer Leverkusen man, Tah was in Low's Euro 2016 squad but wasn't included in Russia. Tah, who improved this season under new Leverkusen boss Peter Bosz, is looking for a fourth cap since his debut in 2016, but at 23 has plenty of time to become a Germany regular.
Thilo Kehrer - defender - PSG - 4 caps
Though he was one of PSG's weakest players in the recent defeat by Manchester United, 22-year-old Kehrer has become a regular for the French champions and has already impressed Low. He can also play centre-back, but his speed down the flank has caught the eye.
Nico Schulz - defender - Hoffenheim - 4 caps
The 25-year-old is yet another with a handful of caps to his name, filling in at left-back in recent years, an area where Low has struggled to find a regular starter. With Low now opting for three at the back, Schulz may prosper given he's more of a natural wing-back.
Serge Gnabry - winger - Bayern Munich - 5 caps
The former Arsenal man has started 15 games for Bayern this season in the Bundesliga at right wing, and though he burst onto the scene with a hat-trick on his Germany debut against San Marino in 2016, he has struggled for minutes since. But Low's ditching of the old-guard means he's back in contention, and has started the last three for Germany after a two-year absence. At 23, there's more to come.
Marcel Halstenberg - defender - RB Leipzig - 1 cap
Though he hasn't made an appearance since the friendly with England in 2017, Halstenberg could yet still get a chance with Jonas Hector falling out of favour. At 27, he's the oldest defender in the squad, and fourth-oldest outfield player in the entire team, but his performances for water-tight Leipzig have been rewarded.
Leroy Sane - winger - Manchester City - 17 caps
Sane doesn't have much to prove to Premier League fans, but his form for the German national team has not always been replicated. The 23-year-old is back after his controversial omission from the squad in Russia; he's started the last three games and will be key for Germany's push towards major tournament wins over the next decade.
Niklas Sule - defender - Bayern Munich - 16 caps
A man for all positions, the 6ft 5in giant has anchored the midfield as well as filling in at left-back successfully for Bayern, along with his preferred centre-back role. The 23-year-old didn't feature in Russia until the last group match against South Korea, but that nightmare 2-0 defeat has not hampered him going into this season, remaining one of Bayern's most consistent players.
Leon Goretzka - midfielder - Bayern Munich - 19 caps
Linked with several Premier League clubs before his move from Schalke to Bayern last summer, Goretzka is seen as the most suitable long-term replacement for Thomas Muller. He knows where the goal is, scoring six already for Germany, and is another German player with versatility to his name, having filled in both as a defensive midfielder and winger during a coming-of-age season for the 24-year-old.
Matthias Ginter - defender - Borussia Monchengladbach - 23 caps
He didn't play a minute in Russia, but has started five of Germany's last six since the World Cup disappointment. The 25-year-old took a plunge in leaving Dortmund for Monchengladbach in 2017, but it's worked out, and both Tottenham and Arsenal were recently linked.