When perusing Germany’s defense for the upcoming World Cup, the first thing readers of this site might notice is that there is no Bayern Munich player to be found — an anomaly for a German backline.
The other missing presence from the list would be Borussia Dortmund center-back Mats Hummels, who was passed over in favor of Armel Bella-Kotchap, Matthias Ginter, Christian Günther, Thilo Kehrer, Lukas Klostermann, David Raum, Antonio Rüdiger, and BVB teammates Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Süle.
Now…you may say, why would Germany need Hummels? Rüdiger, Süle, and Schlotterbeck will eat up most of the time at center-back anyway, right?
Yup, that is true, but when it comes to having someone on the backline who has actually been a key player for a World Cup winner, Germany is lacking.
Flick explained his rationale the tough call.
“Mats is fully fit and in excellent form. But within the coaching team, we decided for a younger player (Bella-Kotchap). The focus was more on the future,” Flick remarked (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “With Antonio Rüdiger, Niklas Süle, Nico Schlotterbeck, Matthias Ginter, we have four centre-backs who have enormous quality. If we then add Thilo Kehrer or Armel Bella-Kotchap, I think you can understand that we decided for a younger player.”
Despite his disappointment, Hummels kept his response classy.
“Without surprise, this was one of the biggest disappointments in my career. I’ll cross my fingers for the team at the World Cup and will use the time to react to such an experience with hard work as I always did,” said the BVB defender (as captured by @iMiaSanMia).
Maybe it is a big deal, may be it is not, but this Germany has expectations. France is banged up and missing key players, England is roller coaster ride of very good highs and very dark lows, and there really is not a country distancing itself from the crowd at this point. This isn’t to say Germany will win, but they can win for sure.
Having a veteran presence and a steady hand that can be called upon if needed is always something valuable to have on a roster. Should any of Germany’s top three center-back options get hurt, Hansi Flick will be left to choose between the inexperienced Bella-Kotchap, the mercurial Ginter, an underwhelming Kehrer or an out-of-position / “break glass in case of emergency” Klostermann
Clearly, selecting a roster for any World Cup involves taking some risks, but this is one that seems like it could have been easily averted.