Germany FIFA World Cup squad analysis: Gotze returns, Musiala, Moukoko headline youth brigade

With a clear emphasis on youth, Hansi Flick’s squad could dive deep into the latter stages of the tournament if it can patch up a few weak spots and work on its strengths.

Jamal Musiala (14) will be looking to make his mark in his debut World Cup.

Jamal Musiala (14) will be looking to make his mark in his debut World Cup. | Photo Credit: Michael Sohn

With a clear emphasis on youth, Hansi Flick’s squad could dive deep into the latter stages of the tournament if it can patch up a few weak spots and work on its strengths.

Eight years after it won the World Cup in Brazil, Germany heads off to Qatar with a clear emphasis on youth and future, as evidenced by the squad announced by Hansi Flick on Thursday.

Just three remain from the 2014 side - Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer and Mario Gotze. The latter, whose goal won the final against Argentina, makes a comeback into the national side after a hiatus of five years.

Borussia Dortmund’s 17-year-old striker Youssoufa Moukoko, who is yet to appear for the senior national side, and Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala headline the youth brigade set to take their first-ever World Cup by storm.

Bayern midfield duo of Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka will look to anchor the German midfield along with Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan.

Mats Hummels and Marco Reus of Borussia Dortmund miss out on the flight to Qatar, with the latter struck down by an injury. Hummels, on the other hand, was dropped in favour of young Southampton defender Armell Bella Kotchap.

Manuel Neuer will continue under the bar, with Marc-André ter Stegen and Kevin Trapp deputising for him.

Flick will be pinning his hope on Antonio Rudiger leading the defence, but there is still no clarity on who will partner the Real Madrid man in the middle. The wing-back slots are also up for grabs, with Leipzig’s David Raum and West Ham’s THilo Kehrer the likely candidates.

Germany’s attack will be driven mainly by Bayern wingers - Leroy Sane and Serge Gnarby. The team lacks a traditional number 9 and might have to rely on the still-effervescent Thomas Muller to deliver the goals in the absence of Timo Werner, who is out injured. Muller himself has been dealing with injury struggles of his own, but is likely to be full fit in time for the tournament.

Chelsea attacker Kai Havertz provides Flick with another option down the middle along with the young duo of Moukoko and Musiala.

While Dortmund’s Moukoko is the youngest player to clock 10 career Bundesliga goals and is also the youngest player to appear in the league, Musiala has already crossed 20 goal contributions for Bayern Munich this season.

Germany will begin its World Cup group campaign against Japan on November 23, and will follow it up with games against Spain and Costa Rica.

Germany World Cup squad
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Defenders: Thilo Kehrer (West Ham), David Raum (Leipzig), Antonio Rüdiger (Real Madrid), Niklas Süle (Borussia Dortmund), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Lukas Klostermann (Leipzig), Christian Günter (Freiburg), Armell Bella Kotchap (Southampton)
Midfielders: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich), İlkay Gündoğan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Mario Götze (Eintracht Frankfurt), Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Kai Havertz (Chelsea)
Forwards: Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sané (Bayern Munich), Karim Adeyemi (Borussia Dortmund), Niclas Füllkrug (Werder Bremen), Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund)
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