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Under-pressure Germany coach Flick drops Werner, Goretzka for friendlies

Germany coach Hansi Flick on Thursday left several established internationals, including Leon Goretzka and Timo Werner, out of his squad to face Japan and France in friendlies early next month, with his future on the line after a bad run.

Germany, which hosts the Euros next year, has been struggling for form and has won just one of its last five matches since its shock World Cup group stage exit in December.

The four-time world and three-time European champions, who have now been eliminated in the first round of the last two World Cups, have also won only three of their last 11 games.

Flick did not include RB Leipzig striker Werner or Bayern Munich midfielder Goretzka, who has 53 caps, in his squad, with David Raum and Thilo Kehrer also notable absentees.

Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah returned to the squad following a strong campaign last season, while the speedy Robin Gosens, who is enjoying his Bundesliga start with Union Berlin, was also recalled.

A surprise inclusion is 32-year-old Brighton & Hove Albion forward Pascal Gross, who is waiting for his first cap.

The Germans host Japan in Wolfsburg on September 9 before taking on France in Dortmund three days later.

With Germany fans booing and jeering in their matches in June, Flick is under mounting pressure with the upcoming games likely his last chance to show clear improvement towards a battle-worthy team for next year’s tournament.

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