Germany coach Joachim Low has confirmed he will no longer pick experienced trio Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller as he wants to take the team in a different direction in 2019.
Muller made his 100th appearance for Die Mannschaft in their 2-2 Nations League draw with Netherlands in November – a game that Hummels started – while Boateng has not appeared since the 3-0 defeat to Ronald Koeman's side in October.
Germany endured a miserable 2018, exiting the World Cup in Russia in the group stages and then finishing bottom of its Nations League group. Its dramatic fall from grace had led to many calling for the squad's more senior players to assume less prominent roles – a change Low initially appeared reluctant to make, saying: "It's a big deal if we start changing things around."
However, Low has had a change of mind and has now ruled the Bayern Munich trio out of any future Germany squads.
"2019 is the year of the new start for the German national football team," he told Bild .
"We want to continue the upheaval that we initiated at the end of last year. Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller will no longer be in the squad of the national team. It was important to me personally to explain to the players and managers of Bayern Munich my thoughts and plans.
"They are all still world-class players who are at the forefront of their club and guarantee success. They are big players who have stood for a big time in the national team. They have spent countless years for Germany and the national team. I thank Mats, Jerome and Thomas for the many successful, extraordinary and unique years together.
"In the national team, however, it is now important to set the course for the future. We want to give the team a new face. I am convinced that this is the right step."
Germany faces Serbia in a friendly on March 20 before kicking off its Euro 2020 qualifying campaign four days later against Netherlands, and Low has issued a challenge to Germany's young players ahead of what he hopes will be an exciting new era.
"We are sending a clear signal," he added. "The young national team players will have the space they need to fully develop. You have to take responsibility now."
Sporting director Oliver Bierhoff echoed Low's sentiments and said it was time for Germany to look to the future.
"Our job is to decide what's best for the team on the way back to the top of the world," he explained.
"We now want to consistently make our new beginning visible in the squad. Thomas, Mats and Jerome have achieved great things for German football so far and will continue to do so in their club. I still feel very close to them and I'm grateful for the time together in the national team."
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