Joshua Kimmich is absent from a Germany squad featuring new faces when they welcome Yanik Frick and Liechtenstein to Wolfsburg on Thursday (kick-off: 8:45pm CET).
Kimmich has played in every one of Flick’s matches in charge of the national team so far, but has had to pull out of the squad early. It’s a blow to the former Bayern Munich boss, Bundesliga champion, but with qualification for the 2022 FIFA World Cup already secure, these final two games in Group J are an ideal time for him to get to know his squad fully. Lukas Nmecha is one of those pushing to start, having been called up for the first time off the back of his impressive performances for Wolfsburg – something he continued with his fourth goal of the season to see off Augsburg at the weekend. Fellow Wolves Ridle Baku and Maximilian Arnold have also been added to the squad. European U21 champion and tournament top-scorer Nmecha is in line for his senior bow on home soil, with the Volkswagen-Arena hosting Die Mannschaft this time. He can count on the support of some seasoned teammates with the likes of Thomas Müller and Leroy Sane, but at the back, Flick may have to give a little more thought to his team selection. Freiburg’s Nico Schlotterbeck will have to wait to make his international bow due to a thigh injury, while Bayer Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah is back in the squad after a one-year hiatus.
Liechtenstein fought bravely for 40 minutes of the reverse fixture in September, before Timo Werner gave Germany the lead. Martin Stocklasa’s men still held it together well with only a 77th-minute Sane strike settling Germany’s nerves and sealing victory. Noah Frick – the youngest son of Liechtenstein’s most capped player Mario Frick – will be one of the first names on Stocklasa’s team sheet alongside brother Yanik, while Martin Büchel and Daniel Kaufmann will feature for the penultimate time with both announcing last week that they will retire from international football after the current round of matches. Uerdingen goalkeeper and captain Justin Ospelt (22) is still sidelined after having an operation on his knee. The match will also be the first time a Germany fixture has been officiated by female referee, with Croatia’s Ivana Martincic being appointed to the game.
- Flick has equalled predecessor Joachim Löw’s national record of winning his first five games as Germany coach. His side have scored 18 and conceded just one since his debut in charge in the 2-0 victory over Liechtenstein.
- Kimmich has captained his country in two of the five games under Flick when Manuel Neuer has been absent.
- Serge Gnabry is enjoying working with his former manager at Bayern in the national team setup, having scored four goals in five matches under Flick.
- Müller has registered 40 goals and 39 assists in 108 Germany appearances.
- Germany have won seven of their eight matches in Group J. Only North Macedonia (2-1) have managed to get a result against the four-time world champions.
- Germany and Liechtenstein have met three times previously in World Cup qualifying, with Die Mannschaft winning all three with 12 unanswered goals.
Germany: Neuer (c) – Hofmann, Kehrer, Rüdiger, Raum – Gündogan, Goretzka – Brandt, Müller, Sane – Nmecha
Out: Adeyemi (not included), Draxler (muscular), Gnabry (not included), Havertz (suspended), Kimmich (not included), Musiala (not included), Schlotterbeck (thigh), Süle (not included), Wirtz (hip)
Coach: Hansi Flick
Liechtenstein: Büchel – Wolfinger, Malin, Kaufmann, Hofer, Göppel – Sele, Frommelt, Hasler (c) – N. Frick, Y. Frick
Out: Mart. Marxer (suspended), Ospelt (knee)
Coach: Martin Stocklasa