FRANKFURT - Germany handed a surprise call-up to Borussia Dortmund teenager Youssoufa Moukoko in their World Cup squad on Thursday as 2014 World Cup winner Mario Götze marked a sensational return to the national team set up after five years.
Germany coach Hansi Flick announced his 26-man squad for the tournament in Qatar starting on Nov. 20, with the 17-year-old Moukoko, who has scored six times in the Bundesliga this season, included.
"Youssoufa is lively and quick player. We are really happy for him," Flick said.
17-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko with a beauty pic.twitter.com/LhoYRrRtRD— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 5, 2022
Werder Bremen forward Niclas Füllkrug also earned a spot after a stellar season with 10 goals so far and following the absence of the injured Timo Werner and Lukas Nmecha. But 30-year-old midfielder Götze's return will no doubt hog the headlines with the 2014 final scorer back to his best with a return to the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt this season.
"Mario Götze is there. 2017 was the last time. Mario is totally happy and so are we to have him. We all know he is an exceptional player. He has been performing at a very high level in the last matches," Flick told a news conference.
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) July 13, 2022
Bayern Munich provided a strong midfield core with Thomas Müller, teenager Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich. Keeper Manuel Neuer will lead the team and remains first choice for the fourth consecutive World Cup.
Four-time winners Germany are looking to make amends for their shock first round loss in 2018 and kick off their Group E matches against Japan on Nov. 23. They next face Spain four days later and Costa Rica on Dec 1. Germany are leaving for Oman on Monday where they will play their final warmup game on Nov. 16 before flying on to Doha.
Dortmund captain Marco Reus and defender Mats Hummels, however, missed out with the former failing to recover from yet another injury in time. Reus had also missed the 2014 World Cup after suffering an injury on the eve of their departure for Brazil where they won the title.
"He tried everything to catch this train. It hurts us because we could have used his quality," Flick said.
2022 Germany World Cup Squad list
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Defenders: Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Antonio Rüdiger (Real Madrid), Niklas Süle (Borussia Dortmund), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Thilo Kehrer (West Ham), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Lukas Klostermann, Armel Bella-Kotchap (Southampton), Christian Günter (Freiburg)
Midfielders: İlkay Gündoğan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (Gladbach), Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané, Jamal Musiala, Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Müller (all Bayern Munich), Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Mario Götze (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Strikers: Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund), Niklas Füllkrug (Werder Bremen), Karim Adeyemi (Borussia Dortmund)
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris and Toby Davis)