By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Manuel Neuer (33/86 caps), Marco Reus (30/39) and Ilkay Guendogan (28/31) might feel like "old hands" when turning up for breakfast in the German national team's hotel in advance of the 2020 Euro qualifiers against Belarus this Saturday and Estonia next Tuesday.
Although the experienced trio have been through a lot with their clubs Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City, they now face a new challenge as they look to lead the bunch of German youngsters into a new era.
But how much leadership of the "old hands" does the newly formed squad need?
Aren't the emerging performers such as Joshua Kimmich (24), Serge Gnabry (23), Leon Goretzka (24), Niklas Suele (23/all Bayern Munich), Kai Havertz (19), Jonathan Tah (23/both Bayer Leverkusen), Timo Werner (23/RB Leipzig), Thilo Kehrer (22/Paris St Germain) and Leroy Sane (Manchester City) prepared to take over?
Goalkeeper Neuer (Bayern) and striker Reus (Borussia Dortmund) claim they intend to provide stability to their young and in some cases inexperienced side. Premier League champion Guendogan pretty much sounds like his older teammates in his attempt to give the new structure his full support.
Not to forget about 49 times capped Julian Draxler. The Paris St Germain midfielder is Germany's most capped player after Neuer yet is only 25 years old. Legends like Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, and Thomas Mueller were dropped by national coach Loew, who is replaced for the two games by assistant coach Marcus Sorg (53) due to injury.
Neuer spoke about future goals such as to win the 2020 European title mentioning the youngster's enormous quality. Reus praised the promising combination of experience and youthful nonchalance. And Draxler has set sail for new achievements, but said the team might need some time to reach the heights of 2014 and 2016.
Most of the national team's new arrivals already play leading roles for their clubs yet seem steps ahead on the international stage over a more extended period. "You can feel it everywhere, the team is determined to do better than at the 2018 World Cup," Draxler commented adding the changes were inevitable.
Draxler regards the team on the road to a new era, but claims leadership still has to develop. Time will tell who will be leading the team, the 2019 French champion underlined.
Others see Kimmich in a leadership role next to Havertz and Goretzka. Kimmich is praised as the man to follow after he moved from the right-back position into the center-midfield in the German shirt.
Loew is praising Kimmich's technical skills, robustness and his ability to "read" and "change" the rhythm of a game.
Havertz, who is said to be eyed by Bayern like Sane, is described "as the face of the re-start" by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Goretzka has proved recently with his club and the national team, he can be a vital force when it comes to an actively attacking game not to speak of the furious trio of Sane, Werner and Gnabry in the front line.
Though Draxler demanded patience, fans seem to be full of excitement when thinking about the national team's future.
Over 20,000 attended a public training session this week that appeared like a football party and a starting signal for a new German team.