Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller will not feature for Germany in tomorrow's friendly against Austria, as coach Joachim Löw instead assesses players who may not yet be assured of a World Cup place. The reigning champions play their first warm-up friendly for Russia 2018 at the Wörthersee Stadion in Klagenfurt on Saturday, with Löw's 23-man squad for the finals to be confirmed at the start of next week.
Neuer to return against Austria
And the Germany coach, while yet to settle on a starting XI, does not see the benefit of using players at this stage who featured heavily in qualifying and endured long club seasons. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer will make his long-awaited return from injury, while Marco Reus will play, but Hummels and Müller won't be involved.
"If there's one thing I haven't thought about it's the starting line-up [for Austria]," Löw told reporters this afternoon. "We have tested a few things out against the Under-20s and among ourselves. Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller have had a lot of games with us - we know what to expect - which is why we're leaving them behind for the Austria game. For players like Sami Khedira, who did not play much towards the end of the season, this is a chance for them."
Chance for everyone
On the possibility of fringe players working their way into contention, the coach added: "One game shouldn't affect the whole decision, but there are little aspects that can help your final decision. Of course, it's not completely unimportant. There are things you can learn about certain players while watching them in action in a friendly. It depends how the game unfolds. There will be some players who get a whole half of football, others not quite as much. It can have an impact, but it's not as important as some think."
Löw is planning to talk his decisions through with the players involved, but some calls have already been made - as suggested by the absence of certain stars for the weekend. "I have an idea, because I won't be talking to players like Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Joshua Kimmich," he said. "Players who get the bad news will be disappointed - that's absolutely natural. It won't be a surprise if it's not a long discussion, if players don't want to turn it into a long discussion."
#Löw on #AUTGER team news: "Things are going well for @Manuel_Neuer. I'll talk to him tonight - if all is well, he will start. @JB17Official isn't fit to play yet, @matshummels and @esmuellert_ will stay behind too."#DieMannschaft #ZSMMN pic.twitter.com/s3R5oTtvJs— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 1, 2018