Perhaps the most notable feature of the squad that Germany coach Joachim Löw announced on Friday was the absence of Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus (pictured above), who is hoping to take part in his first major international tournament after missing the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 European championship through injury.
In a statement posted on the German Football Association's (DFB) website, Löw indicated that he wanted to give the injury-prone attacker the time off in the hope that it would help him be fit when the tournament kicks off in June.
"With Marco, it's important to us that he is brought to the top level carefully and without further pressure and that he gains in stability," the coach said. "This includes first and foremost that he is symptom-free and fit and over a longer period of time, regularly plays and trains, finds his rhythm and thus gains confidence."
2014 hero also left out
Also left out of the squad was Reus' Dortmund teammate, Mario Götze, who scored Germany's World Cup-winning goal in Brazil four years ago. Löw didn't comment on why he had left Götze out, but the midfielder has been out of form of late, and the fact that he wasn't named to the squad makes it look like his participation at the World Cup in Russia is far from a sure thing.
Strikers Sandro Wagner, Mario Gomez and Timo Werner are also part of the 26-man squad for the matches against Spain in Düsseldorf on March 23 and Brazil in Berlin four days later. Gomez and Wagner in particular will be looking to use the chance to make the case for their inclusion in the roster for the World Cup.
There are no uncapped players in the squad for the friendlies, which sees Cologne defender Jonas Hector return to the fold after a long injury lay-off.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp are the goalkeepers in the absence of the still injured No. 1, Manuel Neuer.
pfd/mds (dpa, SID)