Julian Nagelsmann has called up uncapped Robert Andrich, Kevin Behrens and Chris Führich for the upcoming friendlies against the USA and Mexico… - © DFL
Julian Nagelsmann has called up uncapped Robert Andrich, Kevin Behrens and Chris Führich for the upcoming friendlies against the USA and Mexico… - © DFL

Kevin Behrens, Chris Führich and Robert Andrich: what do Julian Nagelsmann's new call-ups bring to Germany?


Julian Nagelsmann has called three new players up to his first Germany squad for the upcoming friendlies against the USA and Mexico…

Behrens, Führich and Andrich could win their first Germany caps over the coming international break, with Nagelsmann handing three of the Bundesliga's top performers maiden call-ups.

There is a mix of tried and trusted in amongst his 26-man ensemble. Thomas Müller has the most caps and goals of those included, with 123 and 45 of each, while Mats Hummels has been recalled after a two-year hiatus.

At the other end of the age spectrum are 20-year-olds Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala, but the new boys are seasoned Bundesliga pros. What does Nagelsmann have in mind? bundeslia.com takes a closer look.

Kevin Behrens
Age: 32
Club: Union Berlin
Position: Striker
Plays a bit like: Niclas Füllkrug 

From Gerd Müller through Rudi Völler and Jürgen Klinsmann to Miroslav Klose, Germany have had a rich history of world class, classic No.9s - but one that had begun to run dry in recent seasons.

Thomas Müller may have 10 FIFA World Cup goals to his name - third behind Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé among active players - but the self-monikered Raumdeuter does his best work from deeper and wider than a typical striker.

"Pssst, which one of us do you think will start up front against the USA?" - in Niclas Füllkrug (l.) and Kevin Behrens (r.), Germany now have a pair of viable No.9s. - IMAGO/Uwe Kraft

But if there was one silver lining from Hansi Flick's ill-fated spell in charge of the national team, it was the unearthing of Niclas Füllkrug as a bona fide international star in the position. Seven goals in nine caps later, and the calling up of the former Werder Bremen man, now of Borussia Dortmund, has looked inspired. 

And the parallels between he and Behrens are striking. Both men were previously released by Bremen before fighting their way up through the lower reaches of German football, and both are ageing like the finest Werderaner Wachtelberg in the top-flight now.

Behrens has scored four goals in the Bundesliga this season - all of them headers, which is an asset that Nagelsmann singled out when explaining the call-up - and Germany have gone from having no natural No.9 to two, almost overnight.

Chris Führich
Age: 25
Club: Stuttgart
Position: Left winger
Plays a bit like: Marco Reus

Chris Führich has been on fire for VfB Stuttgart this season, meanwhile. Serhou Guirassy has stolen most of the headlines with his barely fathomable 13 goals from seven games as Die Schwaben have raced up to second in the table, but Führich is their next deadliest attacker.

The former Dortmund academy and reserve team player has plundered two goals and five assists from his seven games, giving him a goal-involvement of one every 85 minutes he has played. That he starts on the left flank, significantly further away from goal than Guirassy, makes that haul all the more impressive.

Watch: Every Führich goal and assist so far this season

With Marco Reus winding down his career - he has exempted himself from the last two international tournaments and surrendered the captain's armband to Emre Can at Dortmund in the summer - there is space in the squad for a pacy, versatile attacker, and Führich fits the mould.

"He's got very good momentum right now," Nagelsmann said of Führich's call-up. "He's an excellent player 1v1, and been involved in many goals for Stuttgart, who are doing really well.

"With the national team, it's always important to call up players with momentum, those at their peak, to give them their chance. The call with him was refreshing because he was so excited. It’ll be good for us to have new faces in training whose eyes light up at the idea of playing an international match."

Robert Andrich
Age: 29
Club: Bayer Leverkusen
Position: Defensive midfielder
Plays a bit like: Sami Khedira

Where Behrens and Führich will primarily be tasked with providing goals and assists, respectively, Bayer Leverkusen man Robert Andrich is more concerned with stopping them at the other end.

Andrich has fierce competition for a place in central midfield for Leverkusen now that Granit Xhaka has joined from Arsenal, with Argentina's FIFA World Cup winner Exequiel Palacios also for company, but he has played in the engine room and at the back this season.

Robert Andrich had 19 youth international outings with Germany but hadn't been called up since 2013. - Bongarts/Getty Images

An average of two clearances and two aerial challenges won per 90 minutes over the last year are part of the reason why.

"We wanted a different profile at the No.6 position," explained Nagelsmann. "He's someone who can be incredibly active defensively and be a bit of a destroyer. He has an exceptional winning mentality and a sense of responsibility defensively when we need to hold onto a result." 

Germany boast some of the best central midfielders in the world in Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gündoğan, but the hope is that Andrich can free them up to get forward in a way that Sami Khedira once did for Toni Kroos.