After their horrid display at the World Cup where they crashed out at the group stage, Germany now begin the road to the European Championships in 2024 which they will also host.
The likes of Thomas Müller and İlkay Gündoğan will not be in the squad this time around. With their upcoming friendlies against Belgium and Peru, there is likely to be some new faces in the squad as they look to overhaul the mess that occurred in Qatar, which opens the door for players yet to receive a call-up to the senior national team.
Florian Wirtz (19) – Bayer Leverkusen
Florian Wirtz is not a new face to the German national team as he has already earned four caps with the last coming in November 2021. The 19-year-old missed the World Cup as he was recovering from his ACL injury. However, since being eased in after the World Cup break, Wirtz has played 11 times for Bayer Leverkusen, scoring twice and assisting six times.
There will likely still be caution around his playing time because of his prior injury, but it is time the seeds are sown for Wirtz to become a key part of Germany’s attack next summer.
Benjamin Henrichs (26) – RB Leipzig
The right-back last played for Germany in the summer as he started in Germany’s 1-1 draw in the Nations League against Italy. However, Benjamin Henrichs did not get called up to the World Cup as Germany did not take a recognised right-back, which did not pay off.
Since the World Cup break, the 26-year-old has been playing some of his best football for RB Leipzig and offers the attacking and defensive capabilities to not only play as a right-back but also as a right-wing back, right midfielder and even at times as a left-back. It is well known that Flick likes a player that is versatile.
Henrichs has played 31 times for Leipzig this season, scoring three times and assisting twice. Against Manchester City in the first-leg of the Champions League Round of 16, Henrichs came on at half-time and helped Leipzig turn the game around and earn a 1-1 draw.
Malick Thiaw (21) – AC Milan
After a slow start to his career in Milan, Malick Thiaw has become a mainstay in AC Milan’s defence. Since his first start against Torino this year, Milan have only conceded two goals and Thiaw has completed every single game. The 21-year-old also helped Milan keep Tottenham Hotspur quiet in their Champions League tie.
Although Germany has a host of centre-backs such as Antonio Rüdiger, Nico Schlotterbeck, Niklas Süle, Matthias Ginter and Armel Bella-Kotchap, Thiaw is probably one of the best-performing German centre-backs right now and deserves a chance with the senior national team as he can easily be the future of their defence.
Thiaw was part of the Germany under-21 team that won the European Championships in 2021 but he did not feature in any of the games.
Mergim Berisha (24) – Augsburg
Finally, Germany have an issue when it comes to their striker options. At the World Cup, they had to rely on Kai Havertz and Nicklas Füllkrug for their goals. There continues to be a lack of quality strikers and it is time to give Mergim Berisha a chance in attack. The 24-year-old is more of a striker than Havertz, but not the same type of striker as Füllkrug.
This season at Augsburg Berisha has played 19 times, scoring nine and assisting four times. He is the team’s top scorer as they fight to avoid relegation this season.
Like Wirtz and Thiaw, Berisha was part of Germany’s Euro winners in 2021 and whilst Lukas Nmecha and Wirtz has been given a call-up in the past, the 24-year-old is the last of the front three not to be given a chance, but after his form this season so far, he deserves it.
Tom Krauß (21) – Schalke
The Leipzig loanee has been a mainstay in Schalke’s team for the whole season. Tom Krauß’ performances have picked up with Schalke’s slow rise up the table and has been key in Schalke’s defensive strength since the World Cup break.
With the lack of a recognised number six to play behind Joshua Kimmich, a call-up for Krauß would recognise his form as of late. However, for this role, it would likely be a choice between Krauß or Anton Stach who has already played for the German national team and has two years of experience on the 21-year-old.
Regardless of whether Schalke stay up or not, if Krauß continues his form he will likely be seen in the Bundesliga next season.
GGFN | Jack Meenan