By Peter Vice @ViceytheSS
A little to the east in Lower Saxony, it seems as if the national team dream is drying up for two VfL Wolfsburg players not called up despite strong seasons.
|Jonas Hofmann.||Photo: Sven Mandel, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0|
Hansi Flick opted to leave several stars behind during the latest round of international break call ups. Amid the news that Thomas Müller, Leroy Sané, Niklas Süle and Ilkay Gündogan would be remaining behind this time, it largely went unnoticed that flexible attacker Jonas Hofmann – once a go-to-player for Flick – would not factor into the coach’s plans.
For the 30-year-old, the non call-up was obviously a big disappointment. Hofmann continues to be the best player on the pitch for Gladbach this year. The Heidelberg native has scored ten goals and chipped in a further 12 assists for the Fohlenelf across all competitions this year. Hofmann’s two goals for the German Nationalmannschaft in the autumn UEFA Nations League round appear to have been forgotten.
In interviews published on Gladbach’s website, both the club’s sporting director and head-coach noted that they believed the omission to be temporary. This despite the fact that Flick no longer appears interested in using Hofmann to solve his right fullback problem. BMG trainer Daniel Farke insisted that Hofmann “still had a future with the national team.” Virkus praised the veteran in greater depth.
“I assume that Jonas falls into this category of established players left behind,” Virkus noted, “if he keeps up his present form, he’ll be there next time. It was really impressive to watch Jonas on Friday evening. He kept looking for space and creative solutions and found them. It’s a shame that he didn’t get recognized for all of this.”
Eastward of Gladbach, there are a pair of other players that don’t appear to factor into Flick’s long-term plans are left to rue their luck. Not called up to the German World Cup squad, German talent Ridle Baku and VfL Wolfsburg squad captain Maximilian Arnold also didn’t get the endorsement from Flick. Four months after their current head-coach backed them for Germany’s future, it may now be the case that they have no future at all.
Arnold and Baku have only gotten stronger since their trainer spoke up for them. Arnold has scored two more goals and contributed two assists amid a string of (apart from one suspension) uninterrupted starts Germany’s green company team. Baku scored in his first two fixtures back from the World Cup break. A slight recent form dip aside, the 24-year-old will at least be disappointed that he wasn’t considered for Antonio di Salvo’s Juniors.
Conducting a post-match interview with Sky Germany after his team’s recent 1-0 win over VfB Stuttgart, Arnold (never shy about expressing his desire to represent his country) did his level best to take the snub in stride. The 28-year-old congratulated teammate Felix Nmecha on his call up; an honor he emphasized was “well deserved”.
“Of course I’m disappointed,” Arnold added with respect to his own situation, “One questions whether one deserves it, but one should never give up hope.”