September 23, 2017

Hit and Miss – Flop XI of German national team players never to be seen again

What do Karim Bellarabi, Christian Günter, Erik Durm, Maximilian Arnold, Sebastian Jung, André Hahn, Oliver Sorg, Shkodran Mustafi, Leon Goretzka, Max Meyer, Antonio Rüdiger, Christop Kramer, Sebastian Rudy, Kevin Volland, and Matthias Ginter all have in common? All of them made their debut for the German national team in 2014. Of the 73 players who got their first start in Die Nationalmannschaft, a staggering 15 did so this year. In the matches against Gibraltar and Spain, another name could potentially be added to the list, as Jogi Löw has nominated 1. FC Köln left back Jonas Hector for those two matches.

However, not all players to make their debut during Löw’s era have justified their call-up to the national team with good performances or developing into the players the national team coach expected. Here’s a starting XI of players who’ve played for Germany during the eight years of Löw’s reign, but who have since failed to make a name for themselves in the national team.

Goalkeeper

Goalie – Tim Wiese

The former Kaiserslautern, Werder. and Hoffenheim player is making headlines these days more for plans to enter professional wrestling than football accomplishments. Things have gone the wrong way for Wiese ever since he joined Hoffenheim. After that transfer, Löw dropped him from the national team roster, and he was thrown into the Trainingsgruppe II by Markus Gisdol when people thought he had already hit rock bottom. At his best, Wiese was a good shot stopper, who had serious deficiencies in one-on-ones and in his areal control. During his time in the national team, Wiese was given the chance to compete 6 times for his country and, funnily enough, none of those appearances ended with a win for Germany (3 draws and 3 losses). It has to be said that Wiese wasn’t at fault for any of the three losses, though.

Back Four

Right Back – Roberto Hilbert

2007 was Hilbert’s big year in the national team. Then 23 years old, he got onto the pitch for Germany a total of seven times and assisted three goals in the minutes Löw gave him. Another cap followed in 2008, but Hilbert hasn’t since managed to reach the sort of form which would allow the national team coach to think about him as an option for even the bench. To be fair, Hilbert grew up in a rough neighbourhood and put everything on the line to become a footballer. The fact he even managed to represent his country is a staggering accomplishment, given the hardship he had to face in his early life.

Left Back – Christian Pander

With two games and a beautiful strike from long distance against the English national team, Pander’s national team career was short, mostly due to the fact that his injury list is longer than the list of men who have slept with Kim Kardashian. These days, Pander is a squad player at Hannover 96, but had he managed to stay healthy, he could have reached further.

Centre Back – Marvin Compper

The former Hoffenheim and Fiorentina player made his debut in a friendly against England in 2008, filling in for Philipp Lahm on the left back position. Compper and Westermann had trouble containing Shaun Wright-Phillips and collectively offered a horrific display. After 77 minutes, Löw had seen enough, taking Compper off the pitch. Since then, the defender has struggled to impress in a Hoffenheim side which was trying to find itself. The 2012-13 season saw Compper being dropped from the team after a dispute with club leadership. These days, the defender earns his money playing for RB Leipzig.

Centre Back – Alexander Madlung

Six minutes in a qualifier against Georgia back in 2006 and a start in a 1-0 friendly loss against Denmark define Alexander Madlung’s brief career in the national team. Back when the former Wolfsburg man made his debut, he profited from the fact that the youth wave hadn’t hit Germany and Löw had fewer talents to pick from during an injury crisis in Germany’s back four. These days, Madlung is a decent defender for Eintracht Frankfurt, but not anywhere near a place in the German national team.

Midfield

Right Midfield – Tobias Weis

Another player whose career hit a bad turn during Hoffheim’s 2012-13 campaign, Weis has always been a spirited player who puts a lot of effort into what he is doing on the pitch. Löw rewarded him with a friendly appearance against the United Arabian Emirates in 2009, but Weis has since been nowhere near the national team squad. Löw said he saw a lot of potential in Weis, but the player has failed to live up to the promise he showed early on in his career.

Left Midfield – Sascha Riether

After having played a vital role at VfL Wolfsburg for more than two years, Riether was rewarded with two appearances in the German national team. Riether failed to impress Löw sufficiently during two matches, and his career never again hit the same heights as in Wolfsburg after moves to 1. FC Köln, Fulham, and, now, SC Freiburg.

Holding Midfield – Stefan Reinartz

The versatile midfielder made his debut for the national team during a qualifying match against Malta in 2010. Reinartz has done well for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, but his performances have never again made him a real candidate for the national team. In 2013, the player was invited on Germany’s trip to the USA, where he got another two appearances for his country. However, these days it seems unlikely that he’ll feature in any future matches for Die Nationalmannschaft.

Attacking Midfield – Aaron Hunt

Brilliant at his best and booed off the pitch by Werder Bremen fans at the lowest point of his career, Hunt has always shown many great qualities, but the competition at his position is overwhelming at the moment. The fact that Hunt has reached the age of 27 isn’t in his favour these days, either.

Attackers

Striker – Stefan Kiessling

Well, there’s never been a lack of great performances by Stefan Kiessling in the Bundesliga. Despite his current goal draught, most people would point to him as one of the league’s best strikers. However, the chemistry between Kiessling and Löw has never been right (if media reports are to be believed), and the Bayer player’s performances in the national team haven’t been encouraging either. In five matches for Löw’s team, he didn’t manage even a single goal.

Striker – Jan Schlaudraff

With three appearances as a sub for a total of 44 minutes on the pitch representing his country, Jan Schlaudraff’s career hit a road block after those matches and his transfer to Bayern München. The Bavarians had purchased him after they got wind of Werder Bremen wanting to sign the player, and Schlaudraff suffered from the fact that he couldn’t get anywhere near the starting line-up during the entire 2007-08 season. It took the attacking player some time to get his career back on track at Hannover 96.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 30-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball and on the @AufstiegPod.

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