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France v Germany: Draxler delighted to be back in the fold

Julian Draxler is pleased to be back in the Germany set-up ahead of their friendly against France on Friday.

The 22-year-old made just 15 Bundesliga appearances – seven of which came from the bench – for Schalke in a 2014-15 season that was riddled with injury, but has played well since joining Wolfsburg in August.

Joachim Low has therefore recalled Draxler into his squad, and the playmaker – who was part of Germany’s World Cup-winning set-up last year – is eager to repay the coach’s faith.

“I was very pleased to be selected. The faces largely remained the same,” he said. “It’s been a long time since I was here and I am pleased to be able to play again.

“I couldn’t show good performances for quite a time, which had to do with my injury. You have to play on top level to be in the national team.

“The selection from the coach has shown that he sees me back on the right path.”

Friday’s clash will take place at the Stade de France – the venue of the Euro 2016 final.

But Thomas Muller insists Germany are not thinking about next year’s competition just yet and will simply look to enjoy the experience.

“[Playing at the Stade de France] doesn’t have any effect, but it is nice to play a big team in a big stadium,” said the prolific Bayern Munich forward.

“We want to have fun and soak up the atmosphere, but we are not thinking about Euro 2016 yet.”

France’s preparations have been overshadowed by the ongoing scandal involving Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena. Neither player has been included in Didier Deschamps’ squad, with Andre-Pierre Gignac drafted in to maintain attacking numbers.

The 29-year-old plies his trade in Mexico for Tigres and admitted he thought his international career may have been over as a result.

“[My selection] shows it was not a bad choice to play in Mexico, I recently said it would be 100/1 for me to return to the France team,” Gignac said.

“The Mexican league is under-rated. After playing in the Copa Libertadores and reaching the final, that’s strong enough to be recalled, right?”

Low has rested Toni Kroos and Mesut Ozil, while Mario Gomez has returned having not featured since the 4-2 friendly defeat to Argentina in September 2014.

Kevin Trapp and Leroy Sane could be handed debuts, but Karim Bellarabi has withdrawn due to a thigh injury.

Bayern’s Kingsley Coman could be set for his first senior France appearance, while Hatem Ben Arfa is back in the squad having last represented the national team in 2012.

Loic Perrin has been drafted into Deschamps’ squad after Mamadou Sakho pulled out with a knee injury.

Wed 11 Nov, 2015
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