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Why have Germany left Sané out of the World Cup?

The omission of Leroy Sané came as a major surprise when Joachim Low announced his final Germany squad for the World Cup on Monday.

The Manchester City winger was one of four names to be cut from the provisional group, along with Bernd Leno, Jonathan Tah and Nils Petersen.

Low explained it was a "very close decision" between Sane and Bayer Leverkusen's Julian Brant, who ultimately got the nod, adding that Sane, "has not arrived in international matches yet".

The question of poor form on the 22-year-old's part seems at odds with his performances in the Premier League, with Sané having won the PFA Young Player of the Year award for 2017/18 thanks to his excellent year for champions Manchester City.

So, is Low's decision justified? With the help of Opta, we crunch the numbers to find out...

Supreme in the league

If you look simply at the data from the 2017/18 season, Brandt's inclusion over Sané just seems peculiar.

The Manchester City man registered 10 goals and 15 assists in 32 league matches, meaning he was involved in more than twice as many goals as Brandt, who managed nine goals and three assists in two games more.

Not only did Sané score one more and assist five times as many as Brandt, his average of one goal involvement per 97 minutes is also far better than the Bayer Leverkusen man's 195 minutes.

In fact, Sané directly contributed to more goals than any other German player in Europe's top five leagues last season. The nearest to his tally of 25 were Mark Uth and Thomas Muller (22), Timo Werner (20) and Niclas Fullkrug (17).

Brandt has left brand on Germany

He might have shone at club level, but Low's view that Sané has yet to make a real impact on the international stage is not without merit. In the youngster's 12 appearances for Germany, six of which have come as a starter, he has managed only one assist and is yet to score a goal. He has also created little more than one chance per 90 minutes on average.

By contrast, Brandt has a slight edge in chances created, two assists and one solitary strike to his name in his seven starts (15 appearances overall) for the national team.

Given that Sané has played in six of Germany's last seven games, it's also fair to say he has been given enough chances to stake a claim.

Lack of versatility

There is also an argument that Sané suffers from being unable to play as many different roles as Brandt.

The Bayer Leverkusen star has played on either flank in attack – he started on the right in Sunday's 2-1 loss to Austria – and even filled in as a wing-back for his national team.

Speaking on Monday, Low underlined the importance of multi-functional players in a major tournament squad. For instance, his final 23 contains only two out-and-out strikers: Mario Gomez and Timo Werner.

The wide role Sané has in Pep Guardiola's Manchester City side is also not quite the same as the one he is given for Germany; Low favours wingers who have more variety in their play and who are less likely to stay close to the touchline.

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