Niclas Füllkrug took part in the World Cup in November. Now, following their exit in the group stage in Qatar, the Germany national team go into their first international games of the calendar year with the Bremen striker as part of the squad. “Like before, he has earned it, is top of the goalscoring charts and also played well in his games for the national team,” was Werder head coach Ole Werner’s view when asked in his press conference on Thursday. As host country for the European Championships next year, Germany will just be playing a couple of friendlies. On 25th March, they will take on Peru at the Mewa Arena in Mainz, before playing against neighbours Belgium three days later (28/03), at the Rhein-Energie-Stadion in Cologne.
For Werder’s other internationals, European Championship qualification begins this international break. Ilia Gruev will play for Bulgaria, led by former Werder player Mladen Krstajic, against Montenegro (24/03, 18:00 CET) before travelling to play Hungary (27/03, 20: 45 CET).
Milos Veljkovic will miss out on playing for Serbia due to his calf problems. On Wednesday, the 27-year-old had spoken about how much he was looking forward to playing European Championship qualification. “It’s an honour for me to play for Serbia. We want to compete as well as possible in qualification and are one of the favourites in our group. I am hoping to get off to a good start and then be able to be there at the European Championship for the first time – but that is still a long way off.” Veljkovic should be able to take part in the rest of the group stage, when Serbia play, among others, Ilia Gruev and Bulgaria. “Ilia and I are looking forward to the game, we have already talked about it unspecifically one or two times. I am still in contact with Mladen as well and am looking forward to seeing him again.”
Pavlenka has also been called up for European qualifying by Czechia, who first meet Poland in Group E (24/03, 20.45 CET) before then travelling to take on Moldova (27/03., 20.45 CET). Romano Schmid and Marco Friedl will probably only be crossing their thumbs for Austria from home in their games against Azerbaijan and Estonia, with the duo only on stand-by after illness. Dikeni Salifou and Lee Buchanan are also on stand-by, for Germany U20s and England U21s, respectively.