Germany coach Hansi Flick sprang a few surprises in his latest squad with the inclusions of Marius Wolf, Mergim Berisha, Felix Nmecha, Josha Vagnoman and Kevin Schade.
bundesliga.com takes a closer look at the quintet and what they have to offer.
A late developer in footballing terms – this is his first senior call-up at the age of 24 – Berisha is likely not a name on most fans' radars – but not for much longer. The striker cut his teeth in the game in Austria with Salzburg, where he hit four goals in six UEFA Champions League games, before joining Turkish giants Fenerbahce for a season in summer 2021 and then moving to Augsburg in August 2022.
The powerfully built 6'1" forward already had plenty of top-level know-how at that point, having helped the Germany U21s win the European Championship in 2021, while he recently underlined his reputation as a man for the big occasion on Matchday 24, scoring twice against Bayern Munich to take his personal tally against the Bundesliga champions to five goals in four competitive meetings. With eight goals and four assists prior to Matchday 25 in the Bundesliga in 2022/23, it's no wonder Flick wants a closer look.
Watch: All of Berisha's Bundesliga goals so far
The younger brother of seven-time Germany international Lukas Nmecha, Felix moved with his family to England as a boy and ended up following his big bro into the Manchester City academy. In summer 2021 they were reunited at Wolfsburg, with Felix initially featuring as a squad player and only making a solitary Bundesliga start in 2021/22.
Niko Kovac replaced Florian Kohfeldt as Wolves coach ahead of the current season, and clearly saw greater potential in the younger Nmecha. The 22-year-old was handed a run of starts ahead of the FIFA World Cup break, netting his first Bundesliga goals in a 4-0 rout of Bochum and providing three assists. He will now get a first chance to showcase his attacking abilities on the international stage, having earned a "dream" call-up to the national squad.
Watch: All of Nmecha's Bundesliga goals and assists
Wolf's maiden Germany nomination is a fitting reward for his persistence in what has been a rollercoaster season for the 27-year-old. After undergoing heart surgery in the autumn and subsequently missing several weeks in rehabilitation, the BVB No.17 has developed into a cornerstone of Edin Terzic's side.
"He's really blossomed since he returned to full training in January," said the coach before praising his "physique, running ability and speed" as well as his "composure under pressure". Wolf has started all of Dortmund's last nine games in all competitions, regularly tearing forward down the right either as a full-back or wing-back, and has played a major part in his side's continued quest for the Bundesliga title.
Watch: All of Wolf's Bundesliga goals
Like Berisha, Vagnoman was part of the Germany U21 squad that lifted the European title in 2021, starting four of six games at that tournament. A pure product of the Hamburg youth system, the 22-year-old spent 12 long years with the six-time German champions, emerging as a star performer and becoming their youngest-ever Bundesliga player in March 2018, at a tender 17 years and 89 days old. He left his hometown for Stuttgart in July 2022, promising that he would "always keep HSV in [his] heart".
Injuries have unfortunately limited Vagnoman's playing time to just 13 Bundesliga appearances this term, while he has found himself competing with Waldemar Anton for a starting berth at right-back. A versatile, two-footed player who can play on the right or left, Vagnoman has been deployed as both a full-back and a wing-back. He is yet to fully win over VfB coach Bruno Labbadia, but putting in a strong debut showing for Germany certainly won't do his club prospects any harm.
The latest young German talent to be Made in the Bundesliga, Schade came of age in the Freiburg academy, scoring for fun at youth level and working his way up to the first-team squad by July 2021. He was predominately used as a supersub in his first full season, making 14 of his 21 appearances from the bench and notching goals in wins over Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen, Stuttgart and Hertha Berlin. He was sidelined with a troublesome abdomen injury between March and September 2022, but returned to score another goal against Hertha on Matchday 9.
Watch: All of Schade's Bundesliga goals
A jet-heeled winger who can play on either flank and both make or take goals, Schade's quality and unpredictability soon attracted interest from beyond the Black Forest, and he joined Brentford on loan (with an obligation to buy) in January 2022. Sports website The Athletic has already tipped him as the club's "next hero", and the talented youngster could clearly become a mainstay in the Germany national team over the next decade.
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