Mergim Berisha gets first Germany call-up for friendlies against Peru and Belgium
Hansi Flick has called up Augsburg striker Mergim Berisha as one of five debutants to his squad for Germany’s March friendlies against Peru and Belgium.
It’s the first time Berisha, 24, has been named in a senior Germany squad and follows an excellent season in front of goal for Augsburg, whom the striker joined on loan in the summer from Fenerbahce.
He’s netted eight times in 18 Bundesliga appearances going into Matchday 25, while Flick was in attendance at the Allianz Arena last weekend to see him bag a brace against Bayern Munich – taking his total against the record champions to five in four appearances.
Watch: All of Berisha's Bundesliga goals so far
Born in Berchtesgarden in Bavaria, Berisha in fact never played in a German youth academy but came through the ranks at Red Bull Salzburg just across the border from his home. He scored 50 seconds into his professional debut with his first touch for their second team, Liefering, at just shy of 16 years and six months.
The 6’2’’ forward was part of the Salzburg team that won the 2017 UEFA Youth League under current RB Leipzig boss Marco Rose. He also has 13 caps and one goal for the Germany U21s, starting every game as Stefan Kuntz’s side won the UEFA European U21 Championship in 2021.
There are also maiden call-ups for Felix Nmecha, Josha Vagnoman, Marius Wolf and Kevin Schade.
Watch: Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala are both in the squad
Among the notable absentees from this Germany squad – the first since the team’s group-stage exit from the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar – are captain Manuel Neuer, who is out with a broken leg, and Thomas Müller. Flick announced earlier in the week that the 33-year-old Bayern forward wouldn’t feature this time as he looks at younger options.
The game against Peru is being played at Mainz’s Mewa-Arena on Saturday 25 March (8.45pm CET), before the four-time world champions host Belgium at Cologne’s RheinEnergieStadion on Tuesday 28 March (8.45pm CEST).
They are the first two friendlies which have been confirmed up to Euro 2024, which is when Germany will next play a competitive fixture as they open the tournament as hosts on 14 June next year in Munich.
Germany squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno (Fulham), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Defenders: Armel Bella-Kotchap (Southampton), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Christian Günter (Freiburg), Thilo Kehrer (West Ham), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Josha Vagnoman (VfB Stuttgart), Marius Wolf (Borussia Dortmund)
Midfield: Emre Can (Borussia Dortmund), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Mario Götze (Eintracht Frankfurt), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Felix Nmecha (Wolfsburg), Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen)
Attack: Mergim Berisha (Augsburg), Niclas Füllkrug (Werder Bremen), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Kevin Schade (Brentford), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)
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