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FCB men make the cut

Thomas Müller billed as the new 'Bomber'

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As expected, Germany boss Joachim Löw’s final 23-strong squad for the World Cup includes all seven Bayern players who were in the preliminary selection. Toni Kroos, who returns to FCB this summer after a loan spell with Leverkusen, is also among the men going to South Africa. Hoffenheim full-back Andreas Beck was the single fit player who failed to make the cut. “It was a very difficult decision,” Löw said.

Germany will set off for the southernmost country in Africa on Sunday with their youngest squad for 76 years. The party led by captain Philipp Lahm boasts an average age of just 24.96 years. The German FA’s senior representative side only had a lower average age for the nation’s first-ever appearance at the World Cup, the 1934 tournament in Italy, when the figure was 24.16 years. The winning squads from 1954, 1974 and 1990 all had an average age between 27 and 28.

Müller: Thomas like Gerd

The youngest players in Löw’s squad are 20-year-olds Kroos and Thomas Müller, while the oldest is 36-year-old FCB keeper Jörg Butt. The trio of Butt, Miroslav Klose (who turns 32 two days before the finals), and Arne Friedrich (31) are the only players in the squad above 30 years of age. Germany’s oldest World Cup squad, for the 1998 finals in France, had an average age of 30.28 years.

Another factor will make the finals even more memorable for World Cup debutant Müller, as the Bayern shooting star will wear the number 13 normally assigned to injured captain Michael Ballack. Thirteen was the number worn by Gerd “Der Bomber” Müller when he fired the Germans to glory at the 1974 tournament on their home patch. Many will consider it a good omen.