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Germany's 2018 World Cup squad: Who joins Muller & Ozil in 23-man squad?

12:15 BST 04/06/2018
Joachim Low & Timo Werner
The 2014 winners are looking to defend their title in Russia and Joachim Low had many tough decisions to make as he chose his final panel

World Cup holders Germany are one of the favourites to win the trophy this summer in Russia, with expectations further heightened by their perfect qualification record and 2017 Confederations Cup victory.

Germany won all 10 of their qualifying games, putting seven past San Marino, beating Norway 6-1 and recording a 5-1 win over Azerbaijan to comfortably progress to their 19th World Cup. This impressive run was broken up by a trip to Russia last summer which saw Joachim Low bring a panel of fringe and young players to the Confederations Cup where a 1-0 win over Chile in the final gave them another international trophy.

In addition, Germany's Under-21 side spent their summer in nearby Poland, lifting the UEFA European Championship with players like Max Meyer, Serge Gnabry and Yannick Gerhardt all having senior international experience prior to the tournament.

The future looks bright for Germany, but it gave Low multiple selection headaches as he planned who to bring to Russia with him. 

The provisional panel was named on May 15 and the final 23 were confirmed on the deadline of June 4. Goal takes a look at which players will help the champions in the defence of their title this summer.

Who made Germany's 23-man squad?

Despite missing the majority of the past season with a number of niggling injuries, Manuel Neuer looks set to reprise his role as Germany's number one. The Bayern Munich shot-stopper will be joined by Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Paris Saint-Germain's Kevin Trapp.

In defence, Jerome Boateng has recovered from injury to claim a place in the final 23, where he is joined by Bayern team-mates Mats Hummels, Niklas Sule and Joshua Kimmich. Despite suffering relegation from the Bundesliga with Cologne, Jonas Hector has been included, with Matthias Ginter, Marvin Plattenhardt and Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger completing the defensive line-up.

Germany's midfield is filled with veterans of their 2014 World Cup triumph, with the likes of Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira expected to show leadership in Russia. PSG's Julian Draxler will be pushing for a place in the starting XI, along with Ilkay Gundogan, while Confederations Cup stars Julian BrandtLeon Goretzka and Sebastian Rudy will also hope to impress. Interestingly, Marco Reus has been included in the final panel after seeing his 2014 tournament dreams taken from him by an untimely injury.

In attack, Thomas Muller will have a chance to extend his impressive World Cup scoring habit, while RB Leipzig's free-scoring striker Timo Werner will be aiming to establish himself as his country's chief goal threat for the coming years. The 23-man squad is completed by experienced front-man Mario Gomez, who is set to play in his third World Cup.

Who didn't make the Germany squad?

The biggest surprise from Germany's final 23-man squad for Russia is the omission of Manchester City winger Leroy Sane. The 22-year-old enjoyed an incredible season at club level but hasn't managed to convince Low of his worth to the national team ahead of the tournament.

Sandro Wagner was not deemed worthy of inclusion by Low and the 30-year-old did not take the news well, immediately announcing his retirement from international duty. Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi was part of the 2014 World Cup triumph but has paid the price for an inconsistent season with the Gunners.

Mario Gotze, hero of the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina, was not included in the final cut as he struggles to reach the heights he previously scaled at club level. Bayer Leverkusen duo Jonathan Tah and Bernd Leno were scythed from the preliminary squad.

Freiburg striker Nils Petersen was a shock inclusion in the preliminary panel, but has been dropped from the final squad, while Borussia Monchengladbach's Lars Stindl and Liverpool's Emre Can also missed out.