Julian Draxler gets the captain's armband again. Benjamin Henrichs gets another look after three years.
With significantly more playing time in the Bundesliga likely forthcoming, might Joachim Löw be tempted to recall another one of his 2017 Confederations Cup Veterans?
|Photo: Marco Verch|
German Bundestrainer Joachim Löw selected an unusually large pool of players for the three fixtures to be played over this week's international break. All told, 29 footballers received a call-up for the country's Nationalmannschaft.
In addition to uncapped debutants Mahmoud Dahoud, Florian Neuhaus, and Jonas Hofmann, another player returned to the team following a three-year-hiatus. Fullback Benjamin Henrichs, recently brought back to the Bundesliga by RB Leipzig over the summer, saw his long desired wish of a return to Löw's good graces come true.
Henrichs was a member of the experimental squad put together by Löw to contest the 2017 Confederations Cup; what would prove the final "dress rehearsal tournament" for countries hosting football's biggest event.
A provisional German team missing most of its stars won the tournament in that final year. The German U21 squad also captured the European Championship that summer; twelve short months before the country's first ever group phase WM-elimination would plunge the Nationelf to its lowest point in the FIFA rankings since 2005.
German national-team football having not yet recovered from the "recession" of two summers ago, Löw now reaches back to pull some of those players back on the radar. Henrichs proved one of several who would not live up to the promise show in the tournament. The most famous example of a player who dipped precipitously after that competition, then squad-captain Julian Draxler, shall don the armband for the first time since against Turkey today.
Another player returning to the Bundesliga wishes to revive his national team career as well. New Frankfurt acquisition Amin Younes should remain in Germany for the long haul on a two-year-loan. Formally introduced before the press after the mania of deadline day, Younes made his ambitious agenda clear.
"I'll always maintain the hope and wish of playing for the national team again," Younes noted, "That honor remains a dream of every German player and shall forever be my goal."
Younes by no means struck an arrogant tone. He qualified his statement by adding, "Whether or not that works out remains to be seen."
Assessing the 27-year-old's prospects of seeing significant playing time under Frankfurt head-coach Adi Hütter isn't easy. The former Leverkusen attacker conceded that he has much work to do to attain better "playing fitness" after so much time on the bench in the Serie A.
Moreover, Steven Zuber's incredible work in the SGE's weekend 2-1 win over Hoffenheim may mean that, even with Filip Kostic out injured, there may be no room in Hütter's 3-5-2 for Younes on his preferred left-hand-side. The flexible Younes can also play the ten or nine positions, but there's effectively chance he can displace André Silva, Bas Dost, or Daichi Kamada.
Almamy Touré's recent success on the right wing may also make Younes' inclusion difficult. It nevertheless shouldn't be long before the Confed Cup veteran gets his chance. All of the players that Hütter has used on the right this past year, Touré, Chandler, and Danny da Costa, are natural defenders.
One senses that Younes was brought in to fill that very specific need. Löw will likely get a closer look at one of his past prime performers again soon. Younes scored a memorable goal in the 2017 tourney.
He now has the opportunity to score a few more directly before the Bundestrainer in the league he follows the most closely.