The international break might bring respite from the packed club calendar, but with Qatar 2022 now just 20 months away, top players have little chance for rest.

Still, the start of the European World Cup qualifiers brings an opportunity for the new names on the international scene to impress, particularly with more established stars unlikely to be involved in every minute of matches over these two weeks.

Several of the continent's top teams have offered first-time call-ups to those enjoying fine form and, while some were anticipated, others have left even the players themselves surprised.

We have picked through a selection of the new faces to look out for, with a sprinkling of Opta data to highlight why they deserve a chance to impress for their country.

 

Belgium: Orel Mangala and Albert Sambi Lokonga

Stuttgart's Orel Mangala has been linked with Arsenal and RB Leipzig due to his performances for Stuttgart this season. Only three midfielders have regained possession more often in the Bundesliga than the 23-year-old (166).

Also hoping to make his senior Belgium debut at the heart of midfield is Albert Sambi Lokonga, who assumed the captain's armband at Anderlecht less than a month after turning 21.

Lokonga, who could get a chance in place of the injured Axel Witsel, has regained possession 35 more times than any team-mate this season (157) and is also fourth for chances created (22).

Croatia: Kristijan Lovric

With Ante Rebic and Bruno Petkovic injured, the coming matches could offer a real chance to impress for Kristijan Lovric.

The HNK Gorica star is second in the top scorer standings in Croatia's top flight, with 15 goals in 24 appearances. With four assists also to his name, Lovric is behind only Tottenham's Europa League slayer Mislav Orsic and Ramon Mierez (both on 20) for direct goal involvements this season.

It's a seriously impressive return for the 25-year-old, particularly as he plays predominantly wide on the left of the Gorica attack.

England: Ollie Watkins

West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone may get the chance to win a first senior England cap, but a man almost certain to be given a chance in attack is Ollie Watkins.

The Aston Villa forward became the 10th Premier League player to score a hat-trick against Liverpool, and the first in a decade, in October's extraordinary 7-2 win over the reigning champions.

He has 10 in the top flight this term, while only captain Jack Grealish (17) has had more direct goal involvements than Watkins (15) in all competitions for Villa this season. Not bad for a man who was playing in England's sixth tier just six years ago.

 

Germany: Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala

Rising Bayern Munich star Jamal Musiala was expected to be named in Joachim Low's squad after he pledged his international future to Germany rather than England.

The 18-year-old, who only signed his first professional contract this month, is Bayern's youngest ever Champions League goalscorer and has already played 18 times in the Bundesliga this season.

Bayer Leverkusen's Florian Wirtz has also earned the right to shine on the senior stage. He is one of just two players under the age of 20 to be directly involved in at least eight goals across the top-five European leagues this season.

Italy: Rafael Toloi and Matteo Ricci

Brazilian-born Rafael Toloi has made it to the age of 30 without a senior international appearance, but his performances for Gian Piero Gasperini's outstanding Atalanta side made him hard to overlook.

Toloi averages seven possession regains per match for Atalanta this season and is comfortable when using the ball, completing 493 passes in the opposition half, the most of any Atalanta defender barring Berat Djimsiti.

Spezia midfielder Matteo Ricci, meanwhile, boasts 19 chances created in Serie A this season as well as 151 times winning back the ball, by far the highest tally for his team.

Netherlands: Jeremiah St Juste

Jeremiah St Juste has impressed at the back for Mainz this season, despite their involvement in a tense battle to avoid the drop.

There are only five Bundesliga defenders to win more tackles and duels combined than the 24-year-old this season (he has managed 165).

Previously a full-back with Feyenoord, St Juste brings a vital commodity to modern central defending: speed. Last season, he clocked a sprint of 22.1 miles per hour, bettered only at the time by Bayern winger Kingsley Coman.

Poland: Kacper Kozlowski

A relative unknown outside Poland, even Kacper Kozlowski himself was shocked to be called up to Paulo Sousa's squad this month.

Clearly, though, he has caught the eye for some all-action displays in the top flight for Pogon Szczecin. The 17-year-old averages 8.3 duels won and 17 passes ending in the final third per 90 minutes, each the most of any teenage midfielder in the competition.

Kozlowski, who is also renowned for a fierce long-range shot, has been linked with some of the world's biggest clubs since making his senior debut at just 15, with Manchester United said to be among them.

 

Portugal: Joao Palhinha and Nuno Mendes

Linked with Manchester City (among others), Sporting CP full-back Nuno Mendes has been described as the standout young talent in Portugal's top flight.

Only Wilson Manafa (49) has completed more dribbles among defenders this season than Mendes (29), who has played in all but four of the unbeaten leaders' league matches.

The 18-year-old is joined in the Portugal squad by team-mate Joao Palhinha, a robust midfielder who has won 208 duels in the Primeira Liga in 2020-21 – no player in his position has won more.

Spain: Bryan Gil and Pedri

Pedri has been a revelation for Barcelona in his first season at Camp Nou, establishing himself as a key part of Ronald Koeman's midfield despite only turning 18 last November.

He has played 42 times already in 2020-21, the most of anyone at the club, and became the youngest player to record 100 touches in a single LaLiga game for at least 15 years against Osasuna this month.

Bryan Gil, meanwhile, has been thriving on loan at Eibar from Sevilla and in January became the second player born this century to score twice in the same LaLiga match, following in the footsteps of Ansu Fati.

 

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos has withdrawn from the Germany squad for their upcoming fixtures because of an adductor injury.

The 31-year-old linked up with his national side on Monday for the World Cup qualifiers with Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia.

However, Germany confirmed on Tuesday that Kroos has returned to Madrid as a precautionary measure and will play no part in any of their games over the next eight days.

"Our medical department has examined and treated Toni intensively," said head coach Joachim Low, who will step down from his position at the end of the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament.

"He would have liked to stay with us, and I am reluctant to be without him. But with a view to the Euros, we decided that the full recovery from this injury must be a priority."

Kroos earned his 100th cap for Germany in October's 3-3 draw with Switzerland and has featured 35 times in all competitions for Madrid this season.

He previously missed two games earlier this season with a gluteal injury, seeing him play no part in the league wins over Real Valladolid and Levante.

Germany are also without Niklas Sule and Robin Gosens for Thursday's clash with Iceland in Duisburg, the pair unavailable with thigh and muscular problems respectively.

The build-up to the match has been dominated by talk of who will succeed Low as the next Germany head coach, but Manuel Neuer insists it will be business as usual on the field.

"We had a short team meeting and are concentrating on our tasks," he said. "We have to be well prepared for the European Championship and will use every game to do that.

"We cannot make any more mistakes. We have a strong group, against some strong opponents, so every game is a final from the start.

"Of course now we want to crown this era with a success. The coach deserves that to end with a success after the successful years.

"He is is very motivated and ambitious. It's not that he thinks he's going to retire. He's enthusiastic. He wants to quit as national coach as successfully as possible."

Under-21s boss Stefan Kuntz is among the frontrunners to replace Low, who has been at the helm since 2006 and guided his country to World Cup success in 2014.

Ralf Rangnick and Hansi Flick, who manages Neuer at club level with Bayern, are also in the running, while Jurgen Klopp and Julian Nagelsmann have distanced themselves.

Asked about the candidates for one of the top jobs in football, Neuer said: "A national coach must have experience and must have done one or the other in German football. 

"He should know the Bundesliga. It's not about what we think, but about the goals that we have in front of us."

Germany team director Oliver Bierhoff had no issue with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge's comments on Hansi Flick's future, insisting the DFB would not have approached the coach while he remained at Bayern Munich.

The 2014 world champions are searching for a new coach to succeed Joachim Low, who will leave his role after the Euro 2020 finals later this year.

Flick, Low's former assistant, was predictably mooted as a potential replacement having enjoyed great success as Bayern boss.

The Bavarian giants won the treble last season and have already added the Club World Cup title in 2020-21, while defences of their Bundesliga and Champions League crowns remain on track.

Flick, who turned Bayern's fortunes around, is under contract until 2023, although club CEO Rummenigge will depart at the end of the year.

That will not spell the end of Flick's tenure, though, Rummenigge insisted last week, saying: "We are well advised to finish what we have agreed in the contract."

But this does not clash with Germany's plans either, as Bierhoff says the new man will not be poached from another job. Ralf Rangnick, who turned down a role at Schalke, has been linked.

"Nothing has changed for us," the team director said on Monday. "We always said we won't approach a coach who is currently under contract.

"I interpreted it in the way that [Rummenigge] wanted to back Hansi Flick and he did. That is the right thing to do as CEO of a club."

Bierhoff was facing the media at the start of the first international break of 2021, with the clock now ticking on Germany's recruitment process.

"We don't have limitless time, but we are not under pressure either," he said. "We have to appoint a new coach for the time after the Euros. We are going to take our time.

"The DFB delegation will be in the team hotel in the coming days. President Fritz Keller, Peter Peters, Rainer Koch and Friedrich Curtius will be there and we will discuss the situation.

"Obviously we will analyse, discuss and have long talks, and then we'll see."

Erling Haaland is one of the most sought-after players in Europe.

Europe's elite are lining up to sign the Borussia Dortmund sensation.

Barcelona are reportedly prepared to go all out as Haaland grows frustrated in Germany.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND EYES DORTMUND EXIT

Erling Haaland has notified his agent that he wants to leave Borussia Dortmund if they fail to qualify for the Champions League, according to Diario AS.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Dortmund, heavily linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Juventus.

Dortmund – through to the 2020-21 quarter-finals – sit outside the Champions League places this season, fifth in the Bundesliga.

Haaland has reportedly given Dortmund an ultimatum should they miss out on Champions League football.

It comes as Sport claims Barca have started to try and raise funds in their pursuit of the Norway international, with the LaLiga giants willing to let two strikers leave.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bild says Germany boss Joachim Low is a candidate for the Real Madrid job should Zinedine Zidane ever leave. Low is set to vacate his post after the reschedule Euro 2020. Telefoot, however, insists Zidane has no intention of leaving ahead of the 2021-22 season.

Liverpool are unaware of Georginio Wijnaldum's reported pre-contract agreement with Barca, claims the Liverpool Echo. Wijnaldum is out of contract at season's end and the Dutchman has been tipped to join Barca.

- United are ready to listen to offers for forward Anthony Martial, claims The Touchline Talk. It comes as the Red Devils seek to sign Haaland.

- Fiorentina are asking €40million for forward Dusan Vlahovic amid links with Milan, reports Calciomercato.

- According to The Transfer Window Podcast, Liverpool are set to rival Arsenal in the race to sign Celtic forward Odsonne Edouard.

PSG are still tracking out-of-favour Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli as the Ligue 1 champions also eye Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, reports Calciomercato.

Ralf Rangnick has stated he is no longer in the running to take over as Schalke's next sporting director due to "numerous uncertainties within the club".

The former RB Leipzig boss has been out of work since leaving his role as Red Bull's head of sport and development last year.

Rangnick had been in talks with Schalke, where he previously spent two spells as head coach, over returning to Veltins-Arena in a boardroom position.

However, the 62-year-old - who recently declared an interest in succeeding Joachim Low as Germany head coach - has now ended discussions with his former side.

"Schalke is very close to my heart," Rangnick said in a statement on Saturday. 

"The overwhelmingly positive reactions from members of the Konigsblauen community have influenced me and confirmed my feelings for this very special club.

"I would have loved to have been involved in helping Schalke on its difficult road back to its former strength. 

"Unfortunately, due to the numerous uncertainties within the club at the moment, I do not see myself being able to take on sporting responsibility at S04 at the moment.

"My wish for all members and supporters of the club is that they will successfully join forces to unify Schalke on and off the pitch and lead it back to the top."

Rangnick's rejection comes just two days after Schalke board members Jens Buchta and Peter Lange revealed they had held positive talks with the ex-Hoffenheim coach.

And Saturday's announcement came as a shock to Schalke, who are 11 points adrift at the bottom of the Bundesliga standings with nine games to play.

"We are surprised by Rangnick's rejection and especially the short notice," Buchta, chairman of the club's supervisory board, said in a statement.

"The board was determined to reach an agreement with Ralf Rangnick in a second round [of talks] agreed for the coming week. It is regrettable that this will not happen.

"At the same time, the supervisory board has a certain understanding of Rangnick's decision in view of the events of the last 10 days. 

"The supervisory board will now strive for the position of sports director to be filled as quickly as possible."

Rangnick is considered one of the frontrunners to take over as Germany head coach after Low announced last week he will step aside after the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament.

Germany Under-21s boss Stefan Kuntz and Bayern Munich's Hansi Flick are also believed to be in the running.

Jamal Musiala should not change his approach while away with Germany, Hansi Flick insisted after the Bayern Munich teenager was handed his first senior international call-up. 

Having elected to represent Germany ahead of England, whom he played for at youth level, Musiala was selected by Joachim Low for Die Mannschaft's upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia. 

Musiala has made 18 Bundesliga appearances in 2020-21 – only four players who are younger than him (18 years, 21 days) have played in more matches across the top five European leagues this term. 

On target in a 4-1 win over Lazio in the Champions League last month, Musiala has demonstrated impressive composure for someone of his tender years. 

And Flick believes displaying the same level-headed attitude will be the key for Musiala in his international career. 

"He should approach it the same way he does things with us, by staying calm. He's an exceptional player," Flick told a media conference ahead of Bayern's Bundesliga clash with Stuttgart. 

Bayern have been pitted against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League quarter-finals having eased past Lazio 6-2 on aggregate in the last 16. 

It is a rematch of last year's final, with the reward for winning the tie a semi-final meeting with either Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund.

But the renewal of acquaintances with PSG is not in Flick's immediate focus.

"My focus is on the game against Stuttgart, first and foremost," he said about the draw. "This will be our 18th game in 11 weeks.

"The team has, in this short time, delivered many strong performances once again, including in the most recent games.

"Now comes first Stuttgart, then the important game in Leipzig. We have enough time to prepare for Paris.

"Manchester City is currently one of the most consistent teams in Europe, so it is a challenge for us and Dortmund. We play the Champions League for that. 

"But we and Dortmund have the opportunity to go one round further.

"It's important to play two games at the highest level. Of course, it's a tough opponent, as you saw in the final. But we also have tremendous quality."

Teenagers Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz have been called up to Germany's senior squad for the first time, but there is still no place for Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels or Jerome Boateng. 

Musiala, 18, pledged his allegiance to Germany last month having previously represented England at every level from Under-15 to Under-21. 

The versatile attacker played in the Chelsea academy from 2011 until 2019 before opting to move back to Germany, where the Stuttgart-born youngster has since made quite the impression at Bayern Munich. 

He has made 18 Bundesliga appearances this term – only four players who are younger than him (18 years, 21 days) have played in more matches across the top five European leagues this term. 

One of those is Wirtz, who has shown immense promise at Bayer Leverkusen since making his debut shortly after his 17th birthday in May last year. 

With four goals and as many assists in 21 Bundesliga games, Wirtz – a technically gifted attacking midfielder – is one of only two players under the age of 20 (along with Arnaud Kalimuendo) across the top European leagues to be involved in eight league goals. 

Similarly, across those same leagues, Adil Aouchiche (46) is the only individual yet to turn 20 with more key passes than Wirtz's tally of 37.

Joachim Low, who earlier this month confirmed he will leave his post later this year, is urging both players to relax despite the added pressures that come with international recognition. 

"We are excited to get to know Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz even better," he told the German Football Association (DFB). "They earned the nomination with their recent good performances. 

"But especially with such young players, our responsibility is to be careful with them and lead them step by step to the highest level. 

"Both have huge potential, and I am sure that we will have a lot of fun with them in the next few years, but at the moment it is important not to rush into anything, they should take it easy and develop carefree. I think the next few days will be a good experience for Jamal and Florian." 

Amin Younes, who has been impressing with Eintracht Frankfurt this term, has earned his first call-up since October 2017, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Emre Can, Lukas Klostermann and Kai Havertz all return after missing the November internationals, which included a 6-0 humiliation by Spain. 

However, there is still no recall for Bayern duo Muller and Boateng, nor Borussia Dortmund centre-back Hummels. 

All three World Cup winners were cast aside by Low in March last year as he looked to refresh the squad in the wake of the 2018 World Cup failure. 

Earlier this month, Low did not rule out potentially bringing them back into the fold given their solid form at club level, yet he has ignored them again on this occasion as Germany begin their World Cup qualification campaign with games against Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has clarified his stance on the Germany job.

Klopp ruled himself out of contention for the international role last week after incumbent Joachim Low announced he would depart after Euro 2020.

That remains the case, with Klopp committed to Liverpool.

But after seeing some of the reaction to his comments, the 53-year-old stressed he was not ruling himself out forever and that it was simply a question of timing.

"The important thing is: I didn't say that I didn't want to become a national coach, but that I couldn't – that is a huge difference," Klopp said to Sport Bild. 

"It would without question be a great honour [to take on the legacy left by Low].

"But this is my sixth year in Liverpool and there is a very clear commitment. 

"I have an important role here and I've built incredible relationships with people I work with on a daily basis. 

"We rely on each other. Can I say 'I'll be gone by then' [a specific time]? That won't work.

"The timing is not right. I am very sorry if I've let people down with it, but I can't just step out of my responsibilities."

Asked about who should replace Low – who took the job in 2006 – Klopp felt Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick "would fill the role excellently" if interested.

But Ralf Rangnick stands out as his favourite candidate.

"I think Ralf Rangnick is an extraordinary coach, especially for an association [the DFB] in which they have been trying to change things for years," said Klopp.

"Ralf could push a lot of things. I think he is a very good choice. 

"He is a great coach, who was always ready to think outside the box and to tweak structures."

Joachim Low has dropped a heavy hint that Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz will earn their maiden Germany call-ups for this month's World Cup qualifiers.

Musiala has enjoyed a breakthrough campaign at Bayern Munich and last month the 18-year-old attacking midfielder pledged his allegiance to Germany, having also represented England at youth level.

Having become the youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history when he netted for Bayer Leverkusen in June last year, Wirtz has scored seven times in 30 appearances across all competitions this season.

His participation in Germany's games against Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia will depend upon him recovering from a positive coronavirus test at the start of this month, but Low is keen to involve both highly rated youngsters.

"I think it is safe to say already that both players are in our plans," he told ntv.

"[It will be] good that I can see them for a few days with us, [to see how] they appear in our group."

Low will step down after Euro 2020 after 15 years at the helm.

The 2014 World Cup winner believes the overhaul of Germany's football system – ultimately leading an environment for the likes of Wirtz and Musiala to develop and thrive in – is the achievement he will look back upon most fondly.

"The greatest achievement was the development over the entire period," he said.

"Our football had technical and tactical problems. We've gotten a lot better when it comes to football culture and play, and that makes me very happy."

Wirtz and Musiala's addition could bolster a Germany squad without Premier League stars such as Ilkay Gundogan, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz.

Quarantine requirements for travellers from the United Kingdom to Germany could hinder the capacity for players from England's top-flight to play a full part in the international break.

Regulations in Romania, where Germany have an away game, are more lenient, but Low said naming a different squad for different games "is not the solution we want".

Hansi Flick is the ideal candidate to succeed Joachim Low as Germany's next head coach, according to Lothar Matthaus.

Low announced on Tuesday he will step down from his role with the national team after the Euro 2020 finals, having been in charge for the past 15 years.

Bayern Munich's Flick was installed as one of the early favourites to take over from Low, whom he previously worked alongside as assistant head coach for eight years.

Flick masterminded a magnificent Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League treble last season, which Bayern have added to with the Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and DFL-Supercup this season.

The 56-year-old appeared to rule himself out of the running earlier this week as he remains under contract at the Allianz Arena until 2023.

But Bayern CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge will leave his role at the end of the year and Matthaus has urged the DFB to move for Flick should he become available.

"He's a person of harmony, but he has to feel good," Matthaus told Sky Sport Germany. "If he no longer feels comfortable at Bayern, he will tell his bosses and then he will be the ideal candidate for the national team."

Jurgen Klopp and Julian Nagelsmann, in charge of Liverpool and RB Leipzig respectively, have also distanced themselves from one of the top positions in international football.

Meanwhile, Matthaus previously stated he had no interest in leading the country he represented 150 times as a player, but he has now changed his stance.

"The DFB has to think about what it wants. Pros and cons are weighed up against each candidate," he said.

"I'm someone who likes to help. If I had the feeling that those responsible were united behind the decision, I would start to think about it."

Germany Under-21s coach Stefan Kuntz and former Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick have also been linked with the position, though the latter is reported to be in talks with Schalke over the possibility of returning to the club as sporting director.

Hansi Flick is not interested in "speculation" he could take over as Germany head coach as he eyes more trophies for Bayern Munich.

Flick is among the names linked with the Germany job after long-serving boss Joachim Low decided to step down after Euro 2020.

Bayern supremo Flick masterminded a magnificent Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and UEFA Champions League treble last season.

The Bavarian giants have also won the FIFA Club World Cup, UEFA Super Cup and DFL-Supercup in a dream start to Flick's tenure.

Bayern are top of the Bundesliga and remain in the hunt to win the Champions League, so Flick is focused on the job in hand rather than the possibility of succeeding Low.

He said in a press conference on Friday: "I have a contract until 2023 and want to be successful and win titles with Bayern Munich. It's not the time to speculate about my future."

Flick added: "I'm interested in the here and now. I am now looking after my team and the game against Werder Bremen [on Saturday]. As I said, speculation is not an issue for me."

Asked if he was surprised Low will walk away from the job, he said. "Yes, yes. He did a very good job for German football. Can be very proud of what he has achieved."

Full-back Benjamin Pavard is back in the squad for the clash with Bremen at the Weserstadion after being out of action following his positive coronavirus test.

David Alaba missed training on Thursday due to a muscular injury, but will be monitored in a session on Friday.

Bayern have scored 13 goals in their last three games and Flick expects the leaders to show intensity from the start as they go in search of a fourth consecutive victory.

He said: "Bremen have a very good defence, they stay compact and don't give away much space. We found that in the home match. It's important that we are aggressive off the ball and find good solutions with it."

Germany head coach Joachim Low has insisted no final decision has been made on possible recalls for Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller and Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels.

The experienced pair have not played for their country since being told by Low in March 2019 that they, along with Jerome Boateng, had no future with the national team.

Low's decision to focus on younger talent has not always paid dividends, though, and last November's 6-0 demolition by Spain prompted loud calls from the likes of Mesut Ozil to bring those senior players back into the fold.

A report in Kicker claimed Muller and Hummels are set to be handed places in Low's Euro 2020 squad, which will be his last major tournament in charge before he steps down after 15 years in the role.

While insisting he has made no promises over either player's future, Low did admit the impact of the coronavirus pandemic could mean his planned "upheaval" of the team may have to be put on hold.

"I neither opened nor closed the door," he said when asked about Muller and Hummels' possible return.

"I said that, under normal circumstances, you shouldn't interrupt a radical change. We have the pandemic situation, and perhaps you can consider: should I interrupt the upheaval [of the squad] for a tournament?"

Muller, 31, has played 100 times for Germany since making his debut in 2010 and, like Hummels – who has 70 caps – he was part of the squad that won the World Cup in 2014.

Muller's club form in the past two years, particularly during Bayern's treble triumph in 2019-20, has led to a clamour for his return to the national team.

Since the start of last season, as well as scoring 27 goals in all competitions, he has provided 37 assists, the most of any player in Europe's top-five leagues apart from Kevin De Bruyne (38).

Only two Bundesliga players – Erling Haaland (65) and Robert Lewandowski (109) – have had more direct goal involvements than Muller in that time.

Speaking of a possible Germany comeback, he said: "I feel comfortable in the [Bayern] team. Standing on the pitch with the boys is fun, and there are a lot of national team players on the pitch.

"I feel like chasing titles in the summer. We will see if it is the end for me after the Champions League final or whether I will play for the national team. I'm definitely ready."

Ralf Rangnick would be interested in succeeding Joachim Low as Germany head coach.

The former RB Leipzig boss has been out of work since leaving as the Red Bull head of sport and development last year.

Low announced this week he will be stepping down from his role with the national team after the Euro 2020 finals, having been in charge for 15 years.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has already distanced himself from the job, while Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann, another popular choice, appears unlikely to move into the international scene at the age of 33.

Rangnick, however, would happily speak with the German Football Association (DFB) about the opportunity.

"It's a job that matters to anybody. In general, I can imagine many things," he told Sky Sport.

Jurgen Klopp has dismissed suggestions he could succeed Joachim Low as Germany head coach.

The Liverpool manager said on Tuesday that he remained committed to last season's Premier League champions.

Low announced earlier in the day that he would end his 15-year career as Germany boss after the Euro 2020 finals.

Klopp's name led the way in polls conducted in Germany to judge the public view of who should replace Low, but the 53-year-old former Borussia Dortmund coach counted himself out.

When asked whether the job may have come too soon for him in his career, Klopp said: "Maybe you should ask the question differently, if I'm available for the job of manager or coach of the German national team after the summer - no.

"Joachim Low did an incredible job for so many years. I think he's the longest servant we've had in Germany and one of the most successful. He did an incredible job.

"I understand he wants to have this highlight at the European Championship and try to squeeze anything out he can in this tournament and then somebody else will do the job.

"I'm pretty sure that with the amount of really good German managers at the moment, the German FA will find a good solution."

Speaking to German reporters, Klopp indicated the timing was not right for him to move into international football, given he has three years remaining on his Liverpool contract.

Klopp's team face RB Leipzig in the Champions League in Budapest on Wednesday, guarding a 2-0 lead from the first leg.

Julian Nagelsmann does not expect Jurgen Klopp to be tempted by the Germany job after Joachim Low announced he would step down after Euro 2020.

The search for Low's successor is underway, and a poll by Germany's Sky Sport News broadcaster on Tuesday showed Liverpool manager Klopp would be a popular pick.

With over 7,000 votes counted, some 54.6 per cent selected Klopp as the right man for the job, with Ralf Rangnick next in line with a 15.4 per cent share.

Klopp's Liverpool are enduring a deep dip in the Premier League after last season's title triumph, and six successive defeats in the competition at Anfield have seen them slip to eighth place.

But Klopp has enjoyed huge success during his Liverpool reign, winning the Champions League in 2018-19 before the Reds ended a 30-year wait for the domestic title.

He was also highly successful during his time with Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, where he twice won the Bundesliga.

Nagelsmann, whose RB Leipzig side face Liverpool in the Champions League on Wednesday, said: "Jurgen Klopp is an outstanding coach. But I think that both Liverpool and Jurgen are extremely satisfied with each other."

At the age of 33, Nagelsmann appears unlikely to fancy a switch from club management into the international game.

He has performed wonders with Leipzig since being appointed in 2019, achieving a Bundesliga win percentage of 58.62, with 34 victories and just seven defeats in 58 league games in charge.

If he sustains his early coaching performance, the Germany job may be one that Nagelsmann looks at in the future.

For now, he is keen to see how Low bows out, hoping a 15-year reign can end on a high note.

"First of all, it's sad news, but he is still in office," Nagelsmann said. "That's the most important thing: that he will continue and be on the touchline for this big tournament.

"He's had an extreme impact in German football and especially on the national team. He's had great success and defined an era with titles, a development and a second rebuild during his spell."

Nagelsmann pointed to Low bringing through different generations to form new Germany sides, and said he was optimistic the latest incarnation can be trophy contenders at the European Championship.

"I am sure of it, because we have a lot of talented players, which is also an achievement of his," Nagelsmann said. "It's thanks to him making difficult decisions during crucial moments.

"He has also been criticised for this but had a great career as the coach of the German national team nonetheless. I hope he will find a glorious end and then I'm keen on finding out where he will leave his footsteps next."

Germany great Lothar Matthaus backed former Schalke and Leipzig boss Rangnick, who is currently without a club, telling Sky Sport News: "He's free. He's someone who can build something."

The next Germany coach will be expected to lead the team at the Qatar 2022 World Cup, although the qualifying process is set to begin on Low's watch, with games against Iceland, Romania and North Macedonia coming up in late March.

Rudi Voller, the former Germany striker who went on to manage the team from 2000 to 2004, is thankful Low is being afforded the chance to go out on his own terms.

Voller said: "Jogi Low's decision deserves respect. He and his teams have given us great football in many tournaments and by winning the title at the 2014 World Cup, achieved great things for German sport.

"Now Jogi has the chance to go to the European Championship this summer and to achieve a wonderful conclusion. We will all keep our fingers crossed for him."

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