Maier perplexed by Germany's decision to overlook Muller as he congratulates Neuer ahead of record-breaking cap

Thomas Muller Germany 2018
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The former goalkeeper can't understand why the Bayern star, as well as Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, continue to be left out of Joachim Low's squad

Sepp Maier has admitted to being perplexed by Germany's decision to overlook Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, while congratulating Manuel Neuer ahead of his record-breaking cap.

Joachim Low raised more than a few eyebrows when he announced his decision to drop an experienced trio from his Germany squad in March 2019.

Muller, Hummels and Boateng, all of whom played for Bayern Munich at the time, were told in no uncertain terms that their international careers were over, despite having amassed almost 250 caps between them.

Low's intention was to usher in Germany's next generation of talent following their relegation from the top tier of the Nations League, but that bold move has yet to reap any tangible rewards.

Although Die Mannschaft have successfully booked their place at Euro 2021, they are far away from the rock-solid defensive outfit which lifted the World Cup in Brazil back in 2014.

There has been plenty of clamour for Hummels, who returned to Borussia Dortmund last summer, and Boateng to be recalled, while Muller's impressive form for Bayern has also seen him linked with a return to the international fold.

Low has ruled out the possibility of welcoming the three men back into his set-up though, which Maier cannot understand given the lack of experienced players in Germany's current squad.

"There are many young and interesting players. In my opinion, you need the right mix of young and old," the Germany legend told Goal and SPOX .

"For me, there is no getting around players like Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller, they just belong in the team and that's why I understand the discussions [from ex-players and supporters] about not considering them. 

"If you want to win titles, you need experienced players, real leaders - especially in defence. When we became world champions in 1974, we were on average around 28 years old. 

"I think we are missing a few old hands in the current team who are leading the way."

Maier will see Neuer break his record as the most-capped goalkeeper in Germany's history when the Bayern No.1 lines up against Spain in a hotly-anticipated Nations League decider on Tuesday night.

The ex-Die Mannschaft goalkeeper insists the outstanding achievement is a just reward for the 34-year-old's longevity at the very highest level of the game, and that he never expected his mark to stand for so long.

"After 41 years it was finally time for someone to catch up with me! I contacted Manuel Neuer after the game against Ukraine to congratulate him," Maier added.

"I can only take my hat off to him, he absolutely deserves this record because he has been the undisputed number one in the national team and the world's best goalkeeper for many years. 

"In all likelihood, Oliver Kahn would have caught me already if Jurgen Klinsmann hadn't screwed him at the time."