Manchester City forward Leroy Sane is the shock omission from Germany’s 23-man squad for the World Cup, announced by coach Joachim Low at a news conference on Monday.
Sane, the Premier League Young Player of the Year, was expected to made the final squad but was left out, with Hertha Berlin defender Marvin Plattenhardt surviving the cut.
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is included after making his long-awaited comeback from injury in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Austria, his first game since September having been ruled out for eight months with Bayern Munich due to metatarsal injuries.
The Germany captain is now set to lead out the holders in their first match against Mexico in Moscow on June 17. Before the game against Austria, he last featured for the national team in a 2-0 defeat of Northern Ireland on Oct. 11, 2016.
“There are better days in the life of a Bundestrainer,” Low told the news conference. “The disappointment [for the players left out] was big, you could expect that.
“It was like not being allowed onto the plane at the check-in for Moscow. It wasn’t an easy decision for us at all. We looked at everything again. Looked at the data, looked at the big picture. We wanted to be prepared for all eventualities during the tournament.
“It was a photo finish in the end. I first of all want to thank those players for their great contribution over the past two weeks. They fought for their place.”
Bayer Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno has already left the training camp while Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Paris-Saint Germain’s Kevin Trapp will travel to Russia as backups for Neuer.
“It was a very long, a very difficult time for me,” Neuer said. “But also sometimes a nice time. I remained positive throughout that period, always had my sight set on my big goal. I knew that I could make it and I would make it.
“I am convinced that I will cope with every test. And play as many games as possible. I never lost my trust. Ter Stegen played a very good season at Barcelona, and he is an important part of our team.”
Low added: “It was good we played the Austria match despite the rain. Neuer was able to show he’s already at a very good level.”
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 4, 2018
Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah and Freiburg attacker Nils Petersen, who won his first cap against Austria, have also been dropped.
Germany are without a win in five matches, their longest run since 1987-88.
Germany’s 23-man World Cup squad:
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain)
Defenders: Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin)
Midfielders: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen)
Forwards: Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Mario Gomez (Stuttgart)