Pascal Groß has played his way into Hansi Flick's latest Germany squad, but what else is there to know about the versatile Brighton midfielder?
Groß is one of only two uncapped players called up for the friendlies against Japan and France - alongside Hoffenheim goalkeeper Oliver Baumann - and is likely to make what can now perhaps be considered an overdue debut.
bundesliga.com takes a closer look at the former Hoffenheim and Ingolstadt man…
Data correct as of 5 September 2023
Age: 32 (born 15 June 1991)
Country: Germany (4 U20 caps)
Key stats and facts
Groß is now a Premier League mainstay with Brighton, but his journey began much closer to home.
The son of former Karlsruher defender Stephan Groß, Pascal was born in Mannheim - officially the 'University City of Mannheim' - on 15 June 1991, meaning he shares a birthdate with Oliver Kahn and Mohamed Salah.
Football was always Groß' preferred field of study, and after playing under his father at youth level with Neckarau, he made the 25-mile move south-east to Sinsheim to join Hoffenheim at the age of 16, alongside fellow future Bundesliga players Manuel Gulde and Marco Terrazzino.
One year later, in 2008, he helped fire Hoffenheim to the B Junior Bundesliga title, scoring in the 6-4 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the final. He became a Germany youth international that season, and was handed his Bundesliga debut by Die Kraichgauer in May 2009.
But first-team opportunities were at a premium at the time, and Groß and Terrazzino soon moved onto Karlsruher. Groß only spent one season at his father's club before joining Ingolstadt, initially on loan, and it was there that he first made his name.
Groß scored seven and assisted 23 more as Ingolstadt secured Bundesliga promotion in 2017, and although they went back down the following campaign, his 95 chances created that season were a Bundesliga high.
He moved to Brighton in 2017 and since then has scored their first ever Premier League goal, become their 27-goal top scorer in the competition and now, played his way into a first Germany call-up since February 2011 with the U20s.
Plays a bit like: Joshua Kimmich
Groß is a versatile player who made his debut for Hoffenheim on the flank and has regularly filled in at right-back for Brighton, but is most often found as one of the double pivots in Roberto De Zerbi's 4-2-3-1.
It is a similar positional journey to the one Kimmich had at Bayern Munich - left-midfield aside - and the two could find themselves paired in central midfield when Germany take on Japan and France in the coming international break.
Watch: Kimmich under the tactical microscope
Did you know?
Groß is nothing if not a big-game player. On his climb up the German footballing ladder he enjoyed four assists against Bayern's reserves as well as the aforementioned goal against Dortmund, and since arriving in England he has six goals and two assists in 13 career meetings with Manchester United. Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle are among the clubs who have also fished a Groß strike out of their net.
What they're saying
"It's a very nice and exciting time for me. I've always said that it's a dream for me to be with the national team. I'm a team player, that's my greatest strength. I've been warmly welcomed by the other players. A few little things are different but you get used to it quickly." - Groß on his surprise call-up for Germany
"He's a footballer who plays intelligently and is also a good guy." - Flick on his latest recruit.
"Pascal Groß is one of the best players I've had in my career. He's a fantastic player. He can play everywhere on the pitch. He's fantastic in terms of attitude, passion. He's very clever in understanding different situations. I'm lucky to have him in my team. - Groß' club manager waxing lyrical
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