Hummels World Cup absence with a 'view to the future' – Flick

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Germany head coach Hansi Flick said the omission of Mats Hummels from his World Cup squad is with a "view to the future".

The Borussia Dortmund defender has not represented the national side since 2021 but was a candidate for a return after impressive performances at club level this season.

However, Flick opted against bringing the 33-year-old back into the fold and instead handed a spot to Southampton's 20-year-old Armel Bella-Kotchap and Hummels' 22-year-old Dortmund team-mate Nico Schlotterbeck.

With the pair facing a stern battle for minutes, and Antonio Rudiger and Niklas Sule for competition, Flick's selection sees him cast an eye to the future.

"We thought about how to put together the squad. We watched a lot of his games, he has excellent form, is in top shape and has given Dortmund a lot," he said.

"With a view to the future, we have opted for a younger player in the coaching team, it's nothing against Mats. Mats can be good for any team."

One player who could make his international debut in the squad is Werder Bremen striker Niclas Fullkrug, who stands second in the Bundesliga scoring charts with 10 goals, and Flick says he has been watching him for six years.

"The first time I noticed Füllkrug was in 2016, when it came to nominating players for the Olympics. I've seen him a few times," he added.

"He is very confident on the ball, has a good finish and his headers are also an element that is good for us. How far a player appears in our considerations for a game is up to the players themselves."

"Niclas has ten goals. He has the momentum on his side. He does it very well. I also talked to Ole Werner (Bremen coach) for a very long time.

"If you look at Bremen's games, they have always changed something in the last minute. He gives the team confidence and self-image. He can identify well with any role."

Mario Gotze's return after a five-year absence is another highlight in the squad and Flick singled him out for praise.

"We all know that Mario is a brilliant footballer and a great person. He has flashes of thought. He was the last games at a very, very high level. He's in top shape," he said.

"It's the first time he's been there for a long time. He is very happy about it, we are looking forward to him too. This squad nomination gives us a lot of opportunities."