Soccer Football - Chile v Germany - FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 - Final - Saint Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg, Russia - July 2, 2017 Germany’s Julian Draxler celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the FIFA Confederations Cup R
BERLIN, March 16 (Reuters) - Mario Goetze, scorer of Germany's winner in the 2014 World Cup final, and Marco Reus have not been included in coach Joachim Loew's 26-man squad on Friday for the world champions' upcoming friendlies against Spain and Brazil.
Loew said Reus needed time and match practice to get back to his best after missing much of the season with a cruciate ligament injury.
Reus, who missed both the last World Cup and Euro 2016 through injuries, only recently returned to action after having been sidelined for more than half a year.
"For Marco what is important for us is that he is led back to top level cautiously and without any pressure so that he can gain stability," Loew said in a statement.
"That requires for him to be without complaints and fully fit and that he plays over a longer period regularly. He must find his rhythm and get more confidence and sure of himself."
Reus was taken off at halftime in Dortmund's goalless draw against Salzburg in the Europa League on Thursday with an adductor muscle injury.
But Loew, whose aim is the title defence in Russia, did not comment on Goetze's absence, with the player having been a consistent first choice for the coach even during a slump in form after his World Cup winning exploits.
In total, Loew called up 26 players for their matches against Spain next week in Dusseldorf and Brazil in Berlin on March 27.
Among them are strikers Sandro Wagner and Mario Gomez, with one of them likely to partner Timo Werner.
Competition for a spot in the preliminary World Cup squad to be named on May 15 is fierce, with more than three dozen players in contention.
"At the start of the World Cup year we want to have a large pool of player," Loew said. "For some positions we have a lot of choice, for others not. So we need players who are flexible and versatile. The door to the national team is not yet shut.
"There are several players who are still being monitored and have a chance if they are convincing in the coming weeks."
The deadline for teams to submit their final World Cup squad is June 4, with the tournament starting 10 days later.