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Germany shakes up squad before Euro 2024 with six new faces, Kroos recall

Toni Kroos Germany Toni Kroos - Getty Images

BERLIN (AP) — Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann has shaken up the squad before the home European Championship by gathering six new players for warmups against France and the Netherlands.

Nagelsmann also included the 34-year-old Toni Kroos in his 26-man squad on Thursday, confirming the Real Madrid star’s return from international retirement nearly three years since he last played for the country.

“I’m extremely happy I could persuade him to do it again,” Nagelsmann said. He had “many conversations” with Kroos, he added.

“He could have relaxed by the sea in the summer and just watched the games, and then play for Real Madrid for another year or not, whatever he decides at the time. I’m very happy he’s there and that he will play an important role for us.”

The coach also called up Bayern Munich’s Aleksandar Pavlović for the first time, ending the 19-year-old midfielder’s interest in playing for Serbia. Stuttgart players Waldemar Anton, Maximilian Mittelstädt and Deniz Undav are among the debutants. Stuttgart is flying high in third place in the Bundesliga.

Hoffenheim forward Maximilian Beier and Heidenheim free kick specialist Jan-Niklas Beste complete the new faces after impressing for their teams in the Bundesliga.

Nagelsmann’s latest — and potentially last — bid to rejuvenate the team comes after several failed attempts by his predecessors.

Germany has disappointed since an early 2018 World Cup exit as defending champion under Joachim Löw, who oversaw another flop at the coronavirus-postponed Euro 2020 in 2021 before Hansi Flick took over.

Flick oversaw another group stage exit at the 2022 World Cup and was eventually fired last year, when the 36-year-old Nagelsmann took over.

Nagelsmann’s team stated with a win over the United States, then drew with Mexico, followed by successive defeats to Turkey and Austria last November which laid out all of the team’s insecurities.

Midfielder İlkay Gündoğan complained there was a lack of “positive energy” in the team.

Leroy Sané, who was sent off for shoving an opponent, is suspended for the games against France in Lyon on March 23, and the Netherlands in Frankfurt three days later.

Germany’s new Euro 2024 jerseys were also unveiled on Thursday, with a pink and purple away shirt seemingly designed to divert attention from the players’ lackluster performances.

“I like it. The fact that so many people are already talking about it shows it was the right decision, that there’s life in it,” Nagelsmann said. “It’s good, I would wear it. I’m not allowed to wear anything on the sidelines … but I think it’s nice.”

Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and midfielder Jamal Musiala return after missing the November defeats, as does Stuttgart’s Chris Führich, Eintracht Frankfurt’s Robin Koch, and Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

There was no place for Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka, nor for Borussia Dortmund players Mats Hummels, Nico Schlotterbeck, Niklas Süle, Emre Can and Julian Brandt.

“The players know from the conversations what I demand and what’s lacking in order to be perhaps nominated for the European Championship," Nagelsmann said. “And if they implement it well, the door is not closed.”

Germany hosts the Euros from June 14-July 14.



Goalkeepers: Oliver Baumann (Hoffenheim), Bernd Leno (Fulham), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona)

Defenders: Waldemar Anton (Stuttgart), Jan-Niklas Beste (Heidenheim), Benjamin Henrichs (Leipzig), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Robin Koch (Eintracht Frankfurt), Maximilian Mittelstädt (Stuttgart), David Raum (Leipzig), Antonio Rüdiger (Real Madrid), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen)

Midfielders: Robert Andrich (Bayer Leverkusen), Chris Führich (Stuttgart), Pascal Groß (Brighton), İlkay Gündoğan (Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Aleksandar Pavlović (Bayern Munich), Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)

Forwards: Maximilian Beier (Hoffenheim), Niclas Füllkrug (Borussia Dortmund), Kai Havertz (Arsenal), Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich), Deniz Undav (Stuttgart)


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