Germany coach Joachim Loew
Germany coach Joachim Loew

Germany coach Joachim Loew is to name his first squad of the World Cup season on Friday with players and fans alike waiting for the first hint of who is on the road to Russia in 2018.

The big question is how many of the Confederations Cup and European under-21 championship winning squads will be included for the World Cup qualifiers against the Czech Republic in Prague next Friday and Norway in Stuttgart three days later.

Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos, Thomas Mueller and Mesut Oezil, all World Cup winners in 2014, are set to return after being given the summer off. Captain Manuel Neuer could also make it assuming there is no reaction to his return from a broken foot though Jerome Boateng is still building fitness.

“There is little inviolable,” team manager Oliver Bierhoff said at the end of the Confd Cup, won surprisingly in Russia with young or inexperienced players such as RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner, Schalke’s Leon Goretzka, new Bayern Munich defender Niklas Suele and Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Lars Stindl.

“The Confed Cup victory and the under-21 European title are no guarantee of becoming world champions,” Loew warned after the 1-0 final victory over Chile in the Confed Cup.

He said his squad in Russia were “class players, who always play to an incredibly high level,” and hailed the fact “we have created alternatives.

“Every player who was here now has a better position than before the Confed Cup.”

Loew, therefore, can pick from a realistic pool of around 40 World Cup candidates.

“The coach can be very satisfied,” Julian Draxler, who stood in as captain this summer in Russia. “The choice of players he has available for next year is very big.”

Draxler, Jonas Hector, Joshua Kimmich, Shkodran Mustafi, Antonio Ruediger and Marc-andre ter Stegen has all established themselves in the squad before the Confed Cup.

In Russia, attackers Werner and Stindl and midfielders Goretzka and Sebastian Rudy excelled.

Beyond that, Emre Can of Liverpool and Gladbach newcomer Matthias Ginter are also in strong consideration.

That also applies to members of the victorious under-21 squad, who downed Spain in the final in Poland, such as Hoffenheim’s Jeremy Toljan (23) and Serge Gnabry (22), Hertha Berlin’s Mitchell Weiser (23) and Max Meyer (21) of Schalke.

Whether they are in a position to mature from big talents to world class players is for Loew to decide. And the boss will also consider older members of the squad on the fringes of things such as Mario Gomez at Wolfsburg and Benedikt Hoewedes of Schalke.

Then there is the Dortmund quartet of Mario Goetze, Andre Schuerrle, Marco Reus and Julian Weigl, all of whom are recovering from injury or illness.

“There is still a year to the World Cup 2018,” Loew said. “We have all seen that in a year anything can happen.”