Germany coach Joachim Loew included all of his injured stars in his final World Cup squad on Monday following a troubled training camp and an unconvincing 2-2 draw with Cameroon.
Among the players Loew named to the squad were goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, defender and captain Philipp Lahm and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who missed Sunday’s friendly against Cameroon while nursing injuries.
Loew cut three players from his provisional squad: defender Marcel Schmelzer, defender Shkodran Mustafi and striker Kevin Volland. Schmelzer has been bothered by a knee injury, while the other two have little international experience.
The final squad includes only one real striker, Miroslav Klose, who will be 36 by the time his fourth World Cup kicks off. Klose also sat out Sunday’s match, still not fully fit after a series of injuries this season.
Instead of Schmelzer, Loew picked his Borussia Dortmund teammate Erik Durm, who made his international debut against Cameroon. Also included were midfielders Christian Kramer and Matthias Ginter, who have three appearances between them.
“We have the right mixture between young, highly talented players and players with a lot of tournament experience, who know what’s it all about,” Loew said. “Our squad is well-balanced, we have two players for each position. The players have character, the team has character.
“With this team, we are flying to Brazil with confidence, we have big goals there.”
Loew has major problems two weeks before Germany’s opening match against Portugal, which was apparent in the friendly against Cameroon, another team bound for the World Cup. Some key players were out of form, while others could not even play because of injuries.
The team’s training camp in northern Italy also drew attention back in Germany – for all the wrong reasons.
Neuer and Lahm arrived late because of injuries and hardly practiced with the squad. The same goes for Schweinsteiger. Borussia Dortmund midfielder Kevin Grosskreuz also got into trouble for rowdy behavior and urinating in a hotel lobby while drunk before departing for camp.
Then, Loew had to give up his driving license for accumulating too many speeding tickets.
On top of that, two people were injured when a publicity stunt for the team’s main sponsor went badly wrong. Two players were involved in the car crash – Julian Drexler and Benedikt Hoewedes. Neither was injured but they reportedly have had trouble putting the accident behind them.
The team’s general manager Oliver Bierhoff made some rather clumsy attempts to play down the incidents, which didn’t help the situation. The team’s fans were further irritated by not being allowed to watch the team’s practices.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover).
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Erik Durm (Borussia Dortmund), Kevin Grosskreutz (Borussia Dortmund), Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Borussia continued…