2018 World Cup Qualifier: Boateng back for Germany, Ozil, Khedira out 2018 World Cup Qualifier: Boateng back for Germany, Ozil, Khedira out
Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng made his return to the Germany squad announced by Joachim Loew on Friday for the closing two World Cup... 2018 World Cup Qualifier: Boateng back for Germany, Ozil, Khedira out

Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng made his return to the Germany squad announced by Joachim Loew on Friday for the closing two World Cup qualifiers.

Group leaders with eight straight wins, Germany need just a single point to ensure direct qualification for the finals in Russia, either against Northern Ireland next Thursday in Belfast or at home to Azerbaijan on October 8.

But several key players are missing from Loew’s squad due to injury.

Although the experienced Boateng will be back to bolster the defence alongside Mats Hummels, many of Germany’s World Cup winning squad are left off the list.

In midfield, the defending world champions are without Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Mario Goetze, who is still below-par after having only returned in August following seven months off with a metabolic disorder.

Missing from defence are Benedkit Hoewedes and Jonas Hector, while forward Mario Gomez is also out.

Another key absence is that of captain Manuel Neuer, who is sidelined until January after fracturing his left foot.

Goalkeeper Neuer has not played for Germany since October 2016, when Die Mannschaft beat Northern Ireland 2-0.

To replace them, Loew has turned to Confederation Cup winners Sandro Wagner, Marvin Plattenhardt and forward Timo Werner, with Barcelona’s Marc-Andere ter Stegen keeping goal.

Germany squad

Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona/ESP), Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA)

Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal/ENG), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Antonio Ruediger (Chelsea/ENG), Niklas Suele (Bayern Munich)

Midfielders: Emre Can (Liverpool/ENG), Leon Goretzka (Schalke 04), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid/ESP), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Manchester City/ENG), Amin Younes (Ajax/NED), Sandro Wagner (Hoffenheim)

Forwards: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Lars Stindl (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)

Nurudeen Adegbenro