BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany coach Joachim Loew is not planning to call up world champions Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Mueller any longer, saying the team needs to look to the future.
The Bayern Munich trio were part of the 2014 World Cup-winning team but the Germans crashed out of the 2018 World Cup in the group stage, their earliest exit in 80 years.
All three have also struggled for form this season.
“I thank Mats, Jerome and Thomas for the many successful, extraordinary and unique years we shared,” Loew told the best-selling Bild newspaper on Tuesday.
“But in the national team it is now all about laying the foundations for the future. We want to give the team a new face. I am convinced that this is the right step.”
Loew said he had travelled to Munich to inform the players.
With close to 250 internationals between them, Hummels (70 caps), Mueller (100) and Boateng (76) were part of the same generation.
Hummels and Boateng, both 30, played together in the 2009 Under-21 European championship triumph as Germany started to reap the first rewards of a major and sustained investment in youth players that had started seven years earlier.
They all graduated to the senior team and took part in the 2010 World Cup where Germany’s youngest tournament team in 76 years reached the semi-finals with an exciting run that included wins over England and Argentina.
Mueller, 29, has scored a 10 goals at World Cups, winning the golden boot in 2010. He was the second-top scorer four years later with another five goals.
The trio’s international cycle was complete when Germany were crowned world champions in 2014, having also clinched an extraordinary 7-1 victory against Brazil in the last four.
“Thomas, Mats and Jerome have achieved a lot until now for German football,” Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff told Bild.
“They will continue to do so for their club. I continue to feel very connected to them and am thankful for the time we spent together in the national team.”
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)