As the German national team settles into its training bubble at the Austrian alpine resort of Seefeld in Tirol, the question on everyone's mind remains what Bundestrainer Joachim Löw's reintegration plans for Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels are.
The 60-year-old head-coach remained characteristically tight-lipped about the two veterans who return to the team for the first time since November 2018, though he did let slip some plans for Müller.
DFB director Oliver Bierhoff also spoke on the returnees in a recent interview with "Kicker".
German national team director Oliver Bierhoff conceded that he still suffered from "a few headaches" as the die Nationalmanschaft awaits the arrival of all additional actors at their Austrian enclave. Ilkay Gündogan, Antonio Rüdiger, Kai Havertz, and Timo Werner remain in Portugal contesting the UEFA Champions' League Final. Leon Goretzka still requires medical clearance on Monday before he can join the team.
Perhaps most worryingly, midfield metronome Toni Kroos, sits in quarantine in Madrid with COVID. Team doctor Prof Dr. Tim Meyer insists that the infection is a mild case and emphasizes that the 31-year-old will be slowly reintroduced into the team "with all due caution and care."
Naturally, most German media sources continue probe Bierhoff and Bundestrainer Löw for status updates on returnees Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller. Both have been called back to the team following a long hiatus of over two years.
After repeated attempts to stand his ground on the exclusion of the two players over the years, Löw's reversal is something German journalists will not tire of asking him about.
"I don't have to look over my own shoulder when it comes to bringing them back," Löw said in a Saturday interview with Sport Bild, "I did it out of conviction. I can't give either one of them a guarantee for the entire tournament, but they will both play an important role at the start."
Löw had no comment on the status of Hummels, who could conceivably used to bring much-needed stability to the back. Center-halve pairings remain the linchpin of tournament football, but the Bundestrainer did not care to reveal his thoughts on it. He did suggest that Müller might start in the ten-spot.
"Thomas' skills put him at the center," he noted, "there he can direct and shape the game more, and also move up top."
Löw didn't seem to rule out proscribed substitution roles for either player. He pointed the vitally important contributions made by André Schürrle, Mario Götze, Christoph Kramer from the 2014 World Cup.
Bierhoff reported that the pair had settled in well. He noted that Müller, while predictably bringing his trademark sense of humor to the camp, had expressed gratitude at being brought back.
"Thomas has already taken a shot or two, but I can take it," Bierhoff remarked, "They both gave us the impression that their happy to be here. They've settled in quickly. It's like they've never been away."