Germany coach Joachim Löw has named 18 World Cup winners in his squad to face Scotland next weekend, and insists he is not going to underestimate Gordon Strachan’s side.
Of the five world champions to miss out, Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose and Per Mertesacker have retired while Bastian Schweinsteiger is injured and Shkodran Mustafi is not 100 per cent fit, although he will still be in the squad in Dusseldorf on Monday.
Marco Reus, who missed the World Cup due to injury, returns to the 21-man squad while Mario Gomez and Antonio Rudiger are also back. Germany host Argentina in a repeat of the World Cup final before welcoming Scotland to Dortmund for their first Euro 2016 qualifier. The Scots, of course, have failed to qualify for any major tournament since 1998.
“It’s going to be challenging and exciting for us to be able to play against Argentina again,” Löw said. “I’ve got a great deal of respect for this team, who will be highly motivated and won’t gift us anything.”
Four days later, work begins in earnest in trying to follow up their World Cup triumph with victory at the next European Championships.
“We won the World Cup, but that’s in the past now,” Löw said. “We have set ourselves new goals,. We want to open the door to new players. We’ve got many interesting options. Our aim is clear: we want to launch an assault on the Euro 2016 title.
“To do that, first we need to qualify and a good start is important. Of course it has got to be our aim to beat Scotland at home, but we’re not going to underestimate them. They are going to throw everything into the mixer and fight sacrificially.”
Germany squad: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund), Ron Robert Zieler (Hannover); Mats Hummels, Erik Durm (both Borussia Dortmund), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke), Antonio Rudiger (Stuttgart), Matthias GInter (Freiburg); Marco Reus, Kevin Grosskreutz (both Borussia Dortmund), Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller (both Bayern Munich), Julian Draxler (Schalke), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos (both Real Madrid), Christoph Kramer (Borussia Monchengladbach), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea); Mario Gomez (Fiorentina), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal).