The Germany squad, possesses the quality, experience and luck are often mentioned as the chief ingredients for success at major tournaments, but an element of the unexpected can also play its part.
And with the likes of Florian Wirtz, YoussufaMoukoko, and Marc-Oliver Kempf, Joachim Löw could have plenty of options in his Germany squad at the rescheduled Euro 2020 next year.
1) Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)
Still, an under-20 (17-years-old) – Wirtz doesn’t legally become an adult until May 2021 – the attacking midfielder already looks the real deal.
Recruited from the U17 team of local rivals Cologne in January 2020 and thrust in with the Bayer Leverkusen pros, Wirtz was already a first-team regular long before the summer departure of Kai Havertz meant he was given even greater responsibility in the Werkself midfield in 2020/21.
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Wirtz has not welcomed that challenge yet enough, notching three assists from five Bundesliga starts this term to keep Peter Bosz’s side just three points behind league leaders Bayern Munich, while netting two goals and another assist in three UEFA Europa League outings.
Bosz also called him “the best player on the pitch” following his goal and all-round superb display in the DFB Cup first-round win over Eintracht Norderstedt.
The 17-years-old chiefly operates as a central playmaker but also able to wreak havoc off either flank.
The Leverkusen No.27 is the third-youngest Bundesliga debutant of all time, the youngest goalscorer in the league’s history – after cutting inside World Cup winner Lucas Hernandez and lashing past Manuel Neuer, no less – and in October 2020 he became the youngest player ever to represent Germany U21s, at the age of 17 years, five months and seven days.
It appears to be a matter of when, rather than if, Wirtz will be called up to Löw’s squad then, especially with game-changing players being the highest-prized commodity in world football.
2) Youssufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund)
As extraordinary as it may seem to be highlighting a 15-year-old who has never played a single minute of professional football as a potential option for the senior Germany team, there is very little about Moukoko that is ordinary.
The young blood has not so much broken goalscoring records in the Dortmund youth academy as utterly devastated them. Moukoko has to his name 141 goals from 88 games across various age categories.
Moukoko has two caps for the Germany U20s already and has been training with the BVB first team for several months. He could even make his Bundesliga debut on Matchday 8, the day after he turns 16, following a rule change earlier this year from the DFL.
The question, however, is whether Moukoko could really be an option for Löw? If the youngster takes to Bundesliga over the coming weeks and months, then why not?
Apart from Timo Werner and Luca Waldschmidt, the Die Mannschaft team currently have no any other out-and-out forwards, and if they need a goal in a tight game, Moukoko could prove to be much more than a teenage wildcard. He could be the next big name in the Die Mannschaft team.
3) Marc-Oliver Kempf (VfB Stuttgart)
The elder statesman of this bunch, Kempf will be 26 by the time Euro 2020 kicks off in the summer. There is competition for places at center-back in Löw’s squad given the presence of NiklasSüle, Matthias Ginter, Niklas Stark, Uduokhai, Jonathan Tah, and Antonio Rüdiger, but Kempf could have a chance.
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Tah and Rüdiger are no longer regulars for their clubs, while Uduokhai, like Kempf, is the only other naturally left-footed player of those listed. Small details matter at the international level, and even more so during major tournaments, so that is not an insignificant factor to be easily overlooked.
Furthermore, Kempf has started all seven of Stuttgart’s Bundesliga games so far this season and, as the team’s defensive rock, and has played his part in VfB conceding just nine times – fewer even than the likes of Bayern and Borussia Mönchengladbach.
“He’s shown how important he is for us with his speed, his physicality, and also in his build-up play,” said head coach Pellegrino Matarazzo. Previously part of Germany’s U21 set-up, those attributes could well be on display for a wider international audience next summer if his performances continue.