Ilkay Gundogan will return to the Germany national team for the first time in almost a year for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Northern Ireland.
The Manchester City midfielder’s name figures on a list of 22 players called up by coach Joachim Low on Friday and he could make his return for the first time since November 2015.
“I’m particularly pleased to have Ilkay Gundogan, Jerome Boateng and Mario Gomez back,” said Low.
“These two home games are very important for us. After we started our qualifying campaign well in Norway (winning 3-0), we now want to win our next games and take the lead in the group.
“Those players who form the backbone of our team have got into a rhythm with their (clubs) recently and we are pinning our hopes on these players, who know what we expect of them.
“We want to latch onto the performance we showed in Oslo.”
Germany host the Czech Republic in Hamburg on Saturday before Northern Ireland visit Hanover three days later, and Low expects two difficult fixtures.
“Although they were knocked out of Euro 2016 in the group phase, the Czech Republic played some great games against Spain and Croatia,” Low said.
“They have had a revolution since the European Championship and the team have a new coach who has brought in new, young players.
“Such a process can release renewed energy and the Czechs will be particularly motivated against us, so we’re going to have to be fully focused.
“Our memories of facing Northern Ireland in France are still fresh. They have a passionate team with a big fighter’s heart.
“The large majority of their Euro squad will be in Hanover, so we know what to expect.”
After these two qualifiers, Germany travel to San Marino next month before concluding the year with a friendly against Italy in Milan.