BERLIN (Reuters) – Central defender Jerome Boateng was surprisingly left out of Germany coach Joachim Loew’s squad for this month’s international matches against Russia and Netherlands but winger Marco Reus was included on Friday.
Germany face Russia in a friendly on Nov. 15 before taking on Netherlands four days later as they battle to avoid relegation in the new Nations League competition.
“I talked with Jerome. I am convinced he will benefit from a break,” Loew said on the German football association (DFB) website.
“I told him that we have a lot of alternatives for his position, especially with young players. Obviously they still need to prove they can reach Jerome’s level.”
Boateng’s surprise exclusion raised eyebrows at his club Bayern Munich, with coach Niko Kovac calling it a “novelty”.
“That’s a novelty,” he said. “But that does not mean that he will not be there again in the future. I do not see it as the end of Jerome’s national team career.”
The 30-year-old Boateng has played almost a decade for Germany, earning 76 caps and winning the 2014 World Cup.
Injury-plagued Reus, the Borussia Dortmund captain, missed the October internationals through injury but his current form with the Bundesliga leaders has earned him a recall.
“Obviously I am delighted with Marco and that he has a strong phase with Dortmund,” Loew said. “He can really help us in this kind of form and that is what I hope for.”
Germany, who suffered a shock early exit at this year’s World Cup, are bottom of their League A Group 1 with one point from three games. France are top on with seven from three games and the Dutch in second with three points from two matches.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Martyn Herman)