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UEFA Europa League

Marco Reus the big absentee as world champions Germany bid for Euro glory

Marco Reus is out of Euro 2016, with big-tournament woe striking him again. He missed the World Cup in 2014 and Germany will be without him in France.

Here's how the squad is shaping up.


It's Manuel Neuer and two others. The 30-year-old is set to go into his fourth tournament as Germany's No.1. The sweeper keeper kept the national team in the 2014 World Cup in the round of 16 against Algeria, in one his best ever performances. And he still haunts Lionel Messi, who feared the Bayern keeper in the World Cup final.

Neuer is a one-man army -- Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Bernd Leno will be impressed in the dugout.


The centre-back pairing of Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng is among Europe's best. The question is whether Bayern Munich-bound Hummels will return in time for the group stages, or will only be fit to play the knockout stages. He is currently sidelined with a calf injury. In Roma's Antonio Rudiger, Valencia's Shkodran Mustafi and Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes, Joachim Low has selected three more centre-backs.

Germany's traditional weak spot, the full-back positions, have nearly completely been cut from the squad. At the 2014 World Cup, Howedes played at left-back and Philipp Lahm returned to his role as right-back. In 2016, Low could opt for a back three, and move Cologne's Jonas Hector up in to a wing-back position, mirrored by either Liverpool's Emre Can or Bayern's Joshua Kimmich on the right.

Dortmund left-back Marcel Schmelzer did not make the preliminary squad despite having a standout season at the Westfalenstadion, while Hoffenheim's Sebastian Rudy was sent home by Low as the only defender.


Oh, the drama! Reus again misses a tournament with an injury. Two years ago, Dortmund's attacking midfielder sustained a ligament injury in the final friendly before the World Cup.

This time around, ongoing groin problems have stopped the 27-year-old, who has yet to win a title, from playing at the Euros. Playmaker Ilkay Gundogan has at least won titles, but like his BVB teammate, injuries have now stopped him from participating in the last two tournaments.

But as disappointing as Reus' and Gundogan's injuries might be, Low need not worry. An abundance of talent in midfield will still give him a selection headache. The two holding midfield positions are taken by Juve's Sami Khedira and Champions League winner Toni Kroos. Both are experienced and have matured even more since the World Cup in Brazil. Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger will need to fight his way into the team once he returns from his knee injury, and youngsters Julian Weigl and Joshua Kimmich can also deputise if needed.

Mesut Ozil is set to return to his much-loved role behind the central attacker. He has been in stunning form for Arsenal, and his creativity will be needed to break down the deep-sitting opposition in the group stages.

Marco Reus' injury curse has struck again.


Mario Gomez is the only old-fashioned striker in Low's setup and takes Miroslav Klose's role. Thomas Muller, Lukas Podolski, Andre Schurrle, Mario Gotze and Schalke shooting star Leroy Sane could all be listed as midfielders.

But Low has favoured a hugely flexible rotating attacking three in the past and we could see Muller and Gotze assist midfielder Ozil in trying to break down the defending lines. Bayern star Muller, 26, will certainly be one of the key players for Germany. He has to bring his club form, 32 goals in 48 matches, to the Euros as he is one of only two players constantly scoring for their club last season -- Gomez being the other one.

Sane could be the super sub for Low with his creativity and the exuberance of a 20-year-old. Draxler, Schurrle and Podolski currently don't have too much hope of many minutes.

Predicted starting XI for opening match vs. Ukraine:

Neuer; Mustafi, Boateng, Howedes; Can, Kroos, Khedira, Hector; Muller, Ozil, Gotze.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.


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