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Germany coach Flick to test out new players in friendlies

FILE - Germany's head coach Hansi Flick watches his team during a training session at the Al-Shamal stadium on the eve of the group E World Cup soccer...

FILE - Germany's head coach Hansi Flick watches his team during a training session at the Al-Shamal stadium on the eve of the group E World Cup soccer...

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Germany coach Hansi Flick picked five uncapped players Friday for upcoming friendlies in an experimental first squad since being eliminated in the group stage at the World Cup.

Ahead of hosting the European Championship next year, Flick and Germany will try to start building momentum in games at home against Peru on March 25 and against Belgium three days later.

“We want to put together a strong squad for UEFA Euro 2024 in Germany," Flick said in a statement. "That's also why it's important to use the first international games of the year to bring in new players. To give them space and the opportunity to show what they can do.”

Kevin Schade, the 21-year-old Brentford winger, could play his first game for Germany. So could forward Mergim Berisha, who has stood out with three goals in two games against Bayern Munich this season while playing for Augsburg.

The other three of the 24-player squad who are line to represent Germany for the first time are Borussia Dortmund right-back Marius Wolf, Wolfsburg attacking midfielder Felix Nmecha and Stuttgart full-back Josha Vagnoman.

The squad is without several big names, including Real Madrid defender Antonio Rüdiger, Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gündogan and Bayern forward Leroy Sané as Flick looks to experiment. Captain Manuel Neuer is out for the rest of the season after breaking his leg while skiing shortly after the World Cup exit.

Timo Werner is back in the squad after the Leipzig striker missed the World Cup with an ankle injury. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno, defensive midfielder Emre Can and attacking midfielder Florian Wirtz also return after being left out of the last squad.

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Germany:

Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno (Fulham), Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt).

Defenders: Armel Bella Kotchap (Southampton), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Christian Günter (Freiburg), Thilo Kehrer (West Ham), David Raum (Leipzig), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Josha Vagnoman (Stuttgart), Marius Wolf (Borussia Dortmund).

Midfielders: Emre Can (Borussia Dortmund), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Mario Götze (Eintracht Frankfurt), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Felix Nmecha (Wolfsburg), Kevin Schade (Brentford), Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen).

Forwards: Mergim Berisha (Augsburg), Niclas Füllkrug (Werder Bremen), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Timo Werner (Leipzig).

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