Borussia Dortmund's Mario Götze has been recalled to the Germany squad with RB Leipzig’s Marcel Halstenberg a surprise inclusion ahead of this month’s friendlies with England and France.
Dortmund star Götze’s metabolism problems mean he has not played for his country since the goalless draw with Italy in Milan on 15 November, 2016.
“He deserves it,” Dortmund boss Peter Bosz, who has given Germany’s 2014 FIFA World Cup final hero seven Bundesliga starts this season, told media. “It was very difficult for him not to play for five months. He’s worked very hard in training and in games. I’m happy for him.”
Watch: Götze's top three goals for Dortmund
Halstenberg has been one of Leipzig’s most consistent performers since the club arrived in the top flight in 2016, missing just six of the 44 top-flight matches Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side have had to date.
The 26-year-old full-back, who fills the gap in the squad left by the injured Jonas Hector, could get a chance to make his senior international debut in the games which national team boss Joachim Löw believes will stretch his side.
“We’re meeting two top-class opponents. They’ll be really good tests that will give us more information ahead of the World Cup,” he explained. “England are stronger than they have been for years and have a lot of good young players. France also have a lot of fantastic players, who are all technically sound, fast and athletic.”
Manchester City's former Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gündogan, who - like Götze - has not played for the world champions since that match in Italy, also returns to the squad after a serious knee ligament injury.