Germany taking Moukoko, 17, to World Cup; Reus misses out
BERLIN (AP) — Germany is taking 17-year-old striker Youssoufa Moukoko to the World Cup but Borussia Dortmund teammates Marco Reus and Mats Hummels have missed out.
Germany coach Hansi Flick named his 26-man squad for the tournament in Qatar on Thursday, rewarding Moukoko for scoring six goals and setting up four more in 13 Bundesliga appearances this season. Moukoko is the youngest player to reach 10 career Bundesliga goals. Last season, he became the youngest player to appear in the league.
“Youssoufa gives the team a lot. He’s fast, he’s lively,” Flick said. “We’re looking forward to him.”
Werder Bremen forward Niclas Füllkrug was another surprise callup, filling a gap left by Timo Werner’s injury. Füllkrug has 10 goals in 13 Bundesliga games this season.
“Momentum is on his side,” Flick said of Füllkrug, who was playing in the second division last season and had yet to play for Germany.
Before Flick named his squad, he referred to the human rights situation in Qatar and recent homophobic comments made by former Qatar player Khalid Salman, a World Cup ambassador.
“It leaves us speechless, stunned,” Flick said of the comments. “It just happened in the last few days. It’s extremely important on one hand that we as the DFB (German soccer federation) and the players clearly focus on the sports, yes, but of course we also have to address what the human rights situation is like in Qatar. We’ll have to keep our eyes and ears open there.”
Flick said there was no question of just concentrating on the soccer and ignoring all the other issues. He said it was the team’s “job” to address them.
“We don’t want to duck away, but we want to draw attention to the abuses when they happen,” Flick said. “We still have leverage when we’re there and that’s why I think it’s quite clear that we do that, too. That’s what the DFB stands for and that’s what the team stands for. A few players have already addressed it, so I think we’re on the right track.”
Reus is missing out on a major tournament yet again. The Dortmund captain has struggled to recover from an ankle injury in September during the Ruhr derby win over Schalke. Reus made two brief appearances since but complained of increased pain last weekend.
“I and everyone else has to accept it,” Reus wrote on Instagram. “A big dream of mine has been burst.”
Reus missed Germany’s World Cup win in 2014 with an ankle injury sustained in a warmup game, and a groin injury ruled him out of the 2016 European Championship. He played for Germany at the 2018 World Cup but skipped the next European Championship to recover after his season with Dortmund.
“It hurts us all,” Flick said of Reus’ absence.
Hummels has played well this season, but he is also susceptible to injury and Flick evidently had doubts about whether the center back could deal with the rigors of a month-long tournament.
“We decided to give a younger player a chance,” Flick said.
Bayern Munich players again have prominent roles within the squad — goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and midfielders Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Thomas Müller will be expected to lead from experience.
Mario Götze, who scored the World Cup-winning goal in the final against Argentina in 2014, is back in the squad after a long absence. Götze has returned to top form since his Bundesliga return at Eintracht Frankfurt.
“If you look at his last games, they were at a high level,” Flick said. “He’s a brilliant player and a great person.”
Germany has a final warmup game on Tuesday against Oman in Muscat. The team’s first match at the World Cup will be against Japan on Nov. 23. Spain and Costa Rica are also in Group E.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Defenders: Thilo Kehrer (West Ham), David Raum (Leipzig), Antonio Rüdiger (Real Madrid), Niklas Süle (Borussia Dortmund), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Lukas Klostermann (Leipzig), Christian Günter (Freiburg), Armell Bella Kotchap (Southampton)
Midfielders: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gündogan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Mario Götze (Eintracht Frankfurt), Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Kai Havertz (Chelsea)
Forwards: Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sané (Bayern Munich), Karim Adeyemi (Borussia Dortmund), Niclas Füllkrug (Werder Bremen), Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund)
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