August 19, 2017

Karim Bellarbi the lone newcomer to Joachim Löw’s national squad selection

There were no real shock selections Tuesday when Joachim Löw announced his squad for Germany’s upcoming pair of Euro 2016 qualification matches, though Joachim Löw will have a pair of new faces among his crew during the international break.

Bayer Leverkusen’s Karim Bellarabi, who rose to notoriety in the first match day of the season when he needed just nine seconds to score the fastest goal in Bundesliga history, was the only player in Löw’s current squad who would be a first-timer for Germany.

Recent reports had Bellarabi meeting with Morocco national coach Badou Zaki to discuss the rising Bundesliga star joining the home nation of his father, not long after it was reported that Ghana, for whom Bellarabi would also be eligible, was interested in the services of the 24-year-old.

But with the possibility of being capped by Germany now very much a reality, the Berlin-born Bellarabi appears to be ready to commit anew to his native land.

“This is a huge honor for me,” responded Bellarabi to the news of his nomination. “It is a dream come true.”

Newly appointed assistant coach Thomas Schneider, formerly of VfB Stuttgart, will also be making his first appearance since joining the national team as a replacement for Hans-Dieter Flick, who stepped down from his own coaching duties after the World Cup and now serves as the sporting director for the DFB.

And though Manuel Neuer is by no means a new face for Germany, with newly appointed captain Bastian Schweinsteiger unavailable due to injury, everyone’s favorite sweeper-keeper will wear the armband for the first time since being appointed as Sherrif Schweini’s deputy.

Of the 20 names called into service, 16 were on the roster for Brazil this summer. Max Kruse of Borussia Mönchengladbach, Sebastian Rudy of 1899 Hoffenheim, and Antonio Rüdiger of VfB Stuttgart join Bellarabi as relative outsiders to the world champion-laden collection of talent.

Between the two matches, Löw’s squad will meet the other two Group D members to also open their Euro 2016 campaign with victories. Germany first face current group leader Poland Saturday in Warsaw. Poland blew by Gibraltar 7:1, powered in part by a four-goal performance from Robert Lewandowski, who will be facing as many as four of his FC Bayern München teammates when his national side hosts the match at the “10th Anniversary Stadium.”

Three days later, Veltins Arena will provide a friendlier atmosphere for die Nationalelf when the Republic of Ireland, who opened qualification in Tblisi with a 1:2 win over Georgia, come calling for their shot at the world champions.

Players are called to meet in Frankfurt Monday night in order to be ready for the initial team training Tuesday.

Goal

Manuel Neuer (Bayern München) – 58 caps

Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund) – 4 caps

Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96) – 3 caps

Defense 

Jerome Boateng (Bayern München) – 48 caps

Erik Durm (Borussia Dortmund) – 4 caps

Matthias Ginter (Borussia Dortmund) – 4 caps

Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund) – 36 caps

Shkodran Mustafi (FC Valencia) – 4 caps

Antonio Rüdiger (VfB Stuttgart) – 2 caps

Sebastian Rudy (1899 Hoffenheim) – 4 caps

Midfield

Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen) – 0 caps

Julian Draxler (FC Schalke 04) – 14 caps

Christoph Kramer (Borussia Mönchengladbach) – 9 caps

Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) – 54 caps

Thomas Müller (Bayern München) – 58 caps

Mesut Özil (FC Arsenal) – 61 caps

Lukas Podolski (FC Arsenal) – 117 caps

André Schürrle (FC Chelsea) – 43 caps

Attack

Mario Götze (Bayern München) – 37 caps

Max Kruse (Borussia Mönchengladbach) – 6 caps

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Randall Hauk is a freelance writer living in the United States while covering German football. He is currently the publisher of Planet Effzeh, an English-language site covering 1. FC Köln. He wrote about the German national team for the Telegraph as part of their World Cup Nation coverage.

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