Stuttgart striker Mario Gomez was as surprised as anyone by the omission of Bayern Munich's Sandro Wagner from Germany's preliminary FIFA 2018 World Cup squad, but believes he and fellow strikers Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) and Nils Petersen (Freiburg) fully deserve their place in Joachim Löw's provisional selection.
"Obviously Sandro's disappointed," Gomez said in an interview with t-online.de. "I'd have taken him to the World Cup."
Despite scoring 12 goals in the Bundesliga in 2017/18, 30-year-old Bayern striker Wagner was left out by Löw, a decision that prompted his almost immediate retirement from international football.
Watch: Wagner claimed earlier this season that he was Germany's best striker
Although Gomez – who himself netted nine top-flight goals – turns 33 in July, he is not looking any further than bolting down a place in Löw's final 23-man squad.
"I don’t know what's going to happen after the World Cup," he said. "The only thing I know for certain is that I’ll definitely be at Stuttgart next season.
"The coach knows what I bring to the table, and I'll do everything to be [at the World Cup]. I can't do any more than that."
Watch: Is Werner Gomez's natural heir in Germany's No9 shirt?
With 73 senior international caps, Gomez is the most experienced out-and-out striker in Löw’s provisional selection, ahead of Werner (12 full caps) and the uncapped Petersen. While the 2018 World Cup would represent his fifth major tournament, the VfB striker insists both men are more than worthy of inclusion.
"Timo is the future: he can become one of the best strikers in the world – I've said that many times before," Gomez said. "And Nils has earned it because he's really come on and was really impressive for Freiburg in the season just gone."
So impressive, in fact, that Petersen finished the 2017/18 campaign as the Bundesliga's highest-scoring German on 15 goals. Werner and Gomez, by contrast, netted 13 and nine league goals respectively.
Perhaps Löw will take all three?