With German national team coach Joachim Löw announcing his final 23-man squad to defend their title in Russia, a closer look reveals that 15 of the 23 players ply their trade in the German top division. The Bundesliga has been long regarded as one of the best leagues in the world in terms of promoting young players, and while German players are also seemingly more open to moves abroad in other leagues; a move that likely brings to the fore a variety of players back to the national team squad capable of sharing experiences of playing in various systems with different tactics, the overall look of the squad on the plane to Russia seems to suggest the Germans give more priority to the style of football they want to play, and the team is built on the blueprint of being a sum of cohesive parts as greater than relying on the brilliance in individual quality.
As many as 7 players from the 15 from the league play for the same club (Bayern Munich) excluding new signing Leon Goretzka, while midfield maestro Toni Kroos and veteran center forward Mario Gomez are former Bayern players. This gives us a clue that the coach wants to maintain an established core of players familiar with playing alongside each other at club level. Other Bundesliga stars such as Marco Reus and Timo Werner have made it to the side based on pure merit, in addition to the fact that they work well with Löw’s plans. Jonas Hector, Matthias Ginter and Marvin Plattenhardt round out the leagues’ contingent for the squad with solid reputations of their own.
The notable exclusion of Leroy Sané may indicate that Löw intends to stay performance oriented: Sané has no goals in 12 appearances for the national team, although Julian Brandt’s similarly unsatisfactory record of 1 goal in 16 senior side games suggests there is little weight in that argument. Factoring in the decision of including Sebastian Rudy hints towards the coaches’ inclination of preferring a team oriented approach made of versatile, effective players over individual flair.
The result is a squad which is dominated by players from the German top flight, and if Die Mannschaft make another deep run in the tournament; few will expect them not to, it will provide a good account of the league in terms of quality of football played. The Bundesliga has seen Bayern dominate over the recent years, and it’s predictability has often been attributed to a lack of quality teams in the league to challenge the record champions. The Premier League is now widely claimed as being the best in the world, with the best players, but the comparison with the league in Germany seems to be one made between apples and oranges. These two institutions work towards different objectives: Germany aiming towards standing firm on tradition, upholding the 50+1 rule, ensuring sustainable engagement for fans with affordable ticket pricing and safe standing. Different objectives consequently yield different results too: The Bundesliga recording the highest stadium attendances in Europe, and the average age of fans visiting the stadium among the lowest.
The end result is still very apparent, two-thirds of the German national team is from the Bundesliga, and if the metric of the success for a league is helping create talent for the nation and support the team to consistently deliver on the international stage, Deutschland is indeed doing some admirable work.