(REUTERS) - Attacking midfielder Leroy Sane was a surprise omission on Monday (June 4) from Joachim Low's final Germany squad for the World Cup Finals, as goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was named among the 23 players heading to Russia for the defending champions.
The Bayern Munich custodian made the squad despite playing in just one official game, a friendly against Austria on Friday, since breaking a bone in his foot in September but the talented 22-year-old Sane was the highest-profile player excluded.
The Manchester City midfielder, goalkeeper Bernd Leno, forward Nils Petersen and defender Jonathan Tah were the four players that failed to make the cut from Low's provisional list.
Sane, who joined the English champions in 2016, had been a surprise addition to Germany's Euro 2016 squad two years ago but this time he was overlooked by the coach, who opted to take the more physical Julian Brandt to Russia instead.
"It was a very tight decision between him and Julian Brandt which went in favour of Brandt," Low said. "There are better days in the life of a national team coach, when you have to send four amazing players, who deserve to be at the World Cup, home.
"It's like being at the airport check-in counter en route to Moscow and you are not allowed to board the plane."
Germany captain Neuer, who won the World Cup four years ago, will also be their first-choice goalkeeper for the tournament, ahead of designated No. 2 Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Kevin Trapp.
"The clinical tests were really good," Neuer told reporters.
"I always had the goal in front of me. I stayed positive through the injury and had I not been positive I would not have been included.
"I feel good and now my focus is on the World Cup."
Low announced his squad at the end of a training camp at the Italian Alps. The Germans play their last warm-up game against Saudi Arabia in Leverkusen on Friday before the start of the tournament on June 14.
Germany are in Group F along with Sweden, Mexico and South Korea.
Squad - Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Paris St-Germain).
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Mats Hummels (Bayern), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Niklas Suele (Bayern).
Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (PSG), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Ilkay Gundogan (Man City), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal).
Forwards: Mario Gomez (Stuttgart), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig).