FRANKFURT: Joachim Low, coach of world champions Germany, kept his word about splitting priorities as he named his squad for the Confederations Cup in Russia next month.
Low has omitted key players such as goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, defenders Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, midfielders Mesut Ozil, Marco Reus and Toni Kroos plus forward Thomas Muller with the specific intention of allowing them a rare summer break ahead of the World Cup defence.
Also missing are young players such as Serge Gnabry and Max Meyer who are needed for the UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Poland at the same time.
Low said: “Three tournaments in three years is borderline after the World Cup and Euro 2016. Even two in two years is hard.
“We are going into the tournament with a prospect squad. We want those who will be with us to learn our ideas, our mechanisms, train with us. That is the aim. To bring them a bit further towards world level.
“There is a lot of talk in Germany about whether the Confederations Cup makes sense or not. Fact is, it is happening and we will be equally professionally prepared as in a World Cup or Euro.
“But above all is the World Cup and the road to Moscow. It is the biggest tournament and our aim to be world champions is something that is forever. The Confederations Cup is a stop on the road there.”
Hoffenheim playmaker Kerem Demirbay, 23-year-old Ajax Amsterdam winger Amin Younes and RB Leipzig’s Diego Demme are among the newcomers. Others include 29-year-old forward Sandro Wagner and Lars Stindl, 28.