A Bitter Pill to Swallow: Joachim Löw’s Tournament Fall Guys

Social media seems to have exploded following Bundestrainer Joachim Löw’s announcement of his final 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup finals tournament in Russia. Four players have been trimmed from his initial squad with Leroy Sané the player causing the most uproar in the internet.

Arguably the best young player in the Premier League last season, he seemed an absolute nailed-on choice for a seat on the plane to Russia, but despite featuring as a regular in Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City star ensemble in their romp to the English title, he’s missed the cut for the Nationalmannschaft’s quest to defend their world title.

The whys and wherefores of Sané’s omission in favour of Julian Brandt deserve a whole article to themselves, but what shouldn’t be forgotten is the tough (almost impossible) task Jogi Löw has in just selecting 23 players. He is spoilt for choice and could arguably send out four complete teams capable of reaching at least the semi-finals.

As well as Sané, the other extremely unlucky players were goalkeeper Bernd Leno, striker Nils Petersen and defender Jonathan Tah.

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Löw is now leading Germany into his sixth major finals tournament and is no stranger to having to make difficult decisions over which players to take and which to leave broken-hearted. As professionals, those affected will have to take it on the chin and try to come back stronger. Leroy Sané, for one, is at an age where he will only get better and will have plenty more opportunities in the future.

Let’s take a look at some of his fellow fall guys from down the years……

2008 European Championships

Having led Germany to his first tournament finals, Löw originally nominated 26 players for the tournament jointly held in Austria/ Switzerland. After the final warm-up match against Belarus, he decided to axe Schalke’s Jermaine Jones, Leverkusen striker Patrick Helmes and Borussia Mönchengladbach’s mercurial winger Marko Marin.

2010 World Cup

The first World Cup on African soil was one every player wanted to play in, but once again Germany opted to name a provisional squad and then trim it down.  This time 27 players were reduced , but coach Löw only had to decide on one omission- that of Hoffenheim’s Andreas Beck. The other omissions were forced upon him with injuries to Michael Ballack, Heiko Westermann and Christian Träsch.

2012 European Championships

For Poland and Ukraine, the Bundestrainer once again had the unenviable task of cutting four players from the group assembled at the pre-tournament training camp. The players to miss out in 2012 were keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, veteran striker Cacau, Sven Bender and the youngster Julian Draxler (take note Leroy).

2014 World Cup

The fact that Germany won the World Cup in 2014 must make their absence all the tougher to take for those unfortunate to be cut from the squad to travel to Brazil. The young Schalke duo of Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka were dropped as was the injured Marcell Jansen of Hamburg.

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Lars Bender was injured at the training camp, while Marcel Schmelzer, Kevin Volland, and Shkodran Mustafi were the other players denied the chance to win a World Cup medal. There was however a late reprieve for Mustafi as he was a late call-up to replace to injured Marco Reus.

2016 European Championships

The tournament in France was to provide yet more disappointment for Reus as he was injured once again and missed his second major tournament. Sebstian Rudy, Julian Brandt and Karim Bellarabi were the others left out by Joachim Löw.

Winning international tournaments with Germany must be the best part of Jogi Löw’s job. Breaking it to players that they are not going to be involved must be the worst.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

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