FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Germany coach Joachim Loew made several surprise inclusions in his preliminary 30-man World Cup squad on Thursday, with established regulars such as Mario Gomez missing out.
Loew named relatively unknown players such as Sampdoria defender Shkodran Mustafi, Borussia Dortmund defender Erik Durm, Augsburg attacking midfielder Andre Hahn, Hoffenheim striker Kevin Volland, and Schalke midfielders Max Meyer and Leon Goretzka, 18 and 19 respectively. None have made any appearances for the senior side.
Freiburg midfielder Matthias Ginter, who made his debut against Chile in March, was also named.
"We need young dynamic players like those who perhaps only recently played themselves into contention. They can inject fresh impetus into the side," said Loew, whose team was booed by its own fans during the lackluster 1-0 win over Chile.
The average age of the side is 24.8 years, and Loew, who was assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann before taking over after the 2006 World Cup, feels he has struck the right balance between youth and experience.
"Many players are used to high-pressure situations from playing in the Champions League, they can live with it," Loew said. "Our foreign-based players also profit from establishing themselves abroad. That brings them further on a sporting level. Generally we have a good mix in the squad."
Gomez, who has 25 goals in 59 games for Germany, missed out due to a left knee injury after a season blighted by injuries at Fiorentina.
"He was injured for seven months, only played 280 minutes since September," Loew said. "So I formed the opinion that he isn't in a position physically to cope with the conditions in Brazil.
There was also no place for Borussia Moenchengladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen or former Germany No. 1 Rene Adler.
"We didn't make any decisions 'against' any players but for those who would maximize potential of the squad. We're very sorry for the players who didn't make it," Loew said.
Dortmund keeper Roman Weidenfeller and Hannover's Ron-Robert Zieler will deputize for current No. 1 Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich.
Loew said he picked the players based on current form and fitness but made an exception in selecting midfielder Sami Khedira, who has yet to play for Real Madrid since having knee surgery last November.
Bayern contributes seven players to the squad, more than any other side, with Dortmund boasting six.
Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Mario Goetze lead the Bayern contingent, while Marco Reus, Mats Hummels and Marcel Schmelzer are among the best known Dortmund players.
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