German national team coach Joachim Löw made two surprise nominations for the squad that will face the Netherlands in a friendly on Wednesday, November 14th. Hamburg’s in form Rene Adler was recalled for the first time since November 17, 2010 before his injury that kept him out of the World Cup and the National Team for nearly two years. The bigger surprise though was the nomination of Schalke central midfielder Roman Neustädter who could make his debut in Germany’s last match of the calendar year.
Adler’s long wait is finally over
No doubt helped by the suspension of Rob-Robert Zieler following his red card against Argentina, Adler’s call up is nothing less than he deserved considering his fine form with Hamburg this year, something that Löw himself agrees with:
I’m very happy that Rene [Adler] is finally back to his best after his long injury. He has done very well in the last year and deserves another chance to prove his qualities internationally. In this form he definitely belongs in the squad. This is a decision for Rene Adler and not one against Marc-Andre ter Stegen or Ron-Robert Zieler, who will understandably remain in our picture going forward.
Adler has arguably been the best goalkeeper in the league this season and a big reason for Hamburg’s improved form and results. It has been a rough two years for Adler who not only missed out on the 2010 World Cup but struggled with recurring injuries that prevent him from making an earlier return to the national team but he finally got his wish when Löw announced the squad on Friday and could not hide his emotions:
I am overjoyed. When I think back to where I was only half a year ago it seems almost like a fairytale. The nomination is a great acknowledgement of the hard work.
Despite Adler’s great form though, Löw remained adamant that Neuer will remain Germany’s first choice and refused to say which of the two keepers will start the match in Amsterdam on Wednesday:
Manuel Neuer has been our number one in the last two years. There is no reason to change that. We will decide who starts the game amongst ourselves on Monday
Löw impressed by newcomer Neustädter
Although some people have been calling for it, the biggest surprise was Roman Neustädter’s nomination who is the only new face in the 22 player squad. Like Adler, Neustädter continued his good form going into the new season and especially impressed in Schalke’s Champions League campaign this year, something that Löw especially took note of:
It is impressive how Roman has adapted and presented himself at Schalke. He has great technical qualities and his performances both in the Bundesliga and in the Champions League definitely merited a nomination.
Absentees and Returnees
Sami Khedira and Holger Badstuber are still nursing injuries they picked up with their clubs and were consciously left out of the squad but Dortmund pair Mats Hummels and Ilkay Gündogan are back in the fold and so are Lars Bender and Julian Draxler. All four were out with injuries for Germany’s last two matches against Ireland and Sweden but are back to full fitness now and could all feature in the Netherlands match.
Löw will want to finish the year on a positive note, especially after the disappointment of the Sweden match. Germany have played 13 matches in 2012 in which they have won 8, tied 1 and lost 4 and they are currently atop their World Cup Qualifying group with 7 points from their first three games.
Goal: Manuel Neuer (Bayern München), Rene Adler (Hamburger SV)
Defense: Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm (both Bayern München), Mats Hummels, Marcel Schmelzer (both Borussia Dortmund), Benedikt Höwedes (Schalke 04), Per Mertesacker (FC Arsenal), Heiko Westermann (Hamburger SV)
Midfield: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Mario Götze, Ilkay Gündogan, Marco Reus (all Borussia Dortmund), Julian Draxler, Roman Neustädter (both Schalke 04), Mesut Özil (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller, Bastian Schweinsteiger (all Bayern München), Lukas Podolski (FC Arsenal), Andre Schürrle (Bayer Leverkusen)
Forward: Miroslav Klose (Lazio Rome)
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