Hansi Flick says there is still room for Mario Gotze and Mats Hummels to force their way into his Qatar 2022 World Cup thinking after they were omitted from Germany's final pre-tournament squad.
The duo were the headline absentees for September's final Nations League group stage games against Hungary and England, while Southampton defender Armel Bella-Kotchap earned his first call-up.
With Germany's World Cup opener against Japan just over two months away, Gotze – scorer of the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final – and Hummels are facing a race to make the cut.
But head coach Flick stressed there remains time for players to prove their worth as he referenced Gotze's impressive performances for Eintracht Frankfurt.
"The coaching team are already in World Cup mode," Flick stated on Thursday. "We have tremendous quality in attack, so it is difficult to get in there.
"[But] we're watching what Mario is doing. It's really good, and I'm very happy there. He looks mature. We knew he could play football. He has every chance if he keeps showing up to jump on the World Cup train.
"I liked Mat Hummels [for Dortmund against Manchester City]. He's in good shape, looks very fit. [But] if someone really delivers top performances...
"They have a good chance of being there. We've 21 field players in the current squad so at least two positions are open."
Defensive pairing Matthias Ginter and Robin Gosens, along with Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen, were among those recalled after missing June's international fixtures.
Oliver Baumann, Benjamin Henrichs, Lukas Klostermann and Jonathan Tah have all been dropped from the squad for the Nations League, where Germany sit a point behind Group A3 leaders Hungary.
Germany squad: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt); Armel Bella-Kotchap (Southampton), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Robin Gosens (Inter), Thilo Kehrer (West Ham), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Niklas Sule (Borussia Dortmund); Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach), Lukas Nmecha (Wolfsburg) Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich); Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich).