The lead up to the 2018 World Cup continues to serve surprises as Germany dropped Manchester City winger Leroy Sane from their final 23-man squad.
Sane, Bayer Leverkusen pair Bernd Leno and Jonathan Tah and Freiburg striker Nils Petersen were all dropped as Joachim Low whittled down the 27-man provisional squad.
The 21-year-old had a stellar campaign with City that saw him score 14 goals and assisted 19 in all competitions as he was named young player of the year.
Germany coach Joachim Low said it was a “very close decision” between Sane and Julian Brandt, who scored 12 goals and made seven assists for fifth-placed Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen this year.
Rather surprisingly, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who came back after nine months out in a 2-1 friendly defeat to Austria over the weekend, made the cut.
While Sane was overlooked, it’s a different story for his compatriots in the Premier League as Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil have all been named in the squad.
Reigning world champions Germany are in Group F with Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, and play their first match on Sunday, 17 June.
Germany’s 23-man squad
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Paris St-germ)
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich)
Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Paris St-Germain), Leon Goretska (Schalke), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich)
Strikers: Mario Gomez (Stuttgart), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)