Coach Joachim Loew leaves Boateng out of Germany squad

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              Bayern's Joshua Kimmich, left, Bayern's Jerome Boateng, background right, and Freiburg's Lucas Hoeler challenge for the ball during the German Bundesliga soccer match between FC Bayern Munich and SC Freiburg in Munich, Germany, Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)
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BERLIN (AP) — Germany coach Joachim Loew has left Jerome Boateng out of the squad for upcoming games against Russia and the Netherlands.

“I’m convinced that a break would also do him good,” Loew said on Friday. “I told him that we also have a lot of alternatives for his position, especially with younger players.”

Boateng said on Twitter he had “a very good and trusting conversation” with Loew and they decided he would have a break “to continue to work on my fitness in Munich.”

Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac suggested Boateng, who has played from start to finish in six of the team’s 10 league games so far, still had a future with the national team.

“It’s the coach’s decision,” Kovac said. “It’s new that Jerome is not included. That doesn’t mean that he won’t be there in the future, though.”

Loew had already omitted midfielder Sami Khedira from his squad selections since the side’s disappointing title defense in the World Cup in Russia, when Germany was knocked out in the first round.

Germany hosts Russia in a friendly in Leipzig on Thursday. Four days later, it faces the Netherlands at home in the Nations League.

Young Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah was called up again after having replaced Boateng when the Bayern defender hurt a muscle in a 2-1 defeat in France. Boateng missed the 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

Ilkay Gundogan, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Emre Can are also out for the upcoming games, while Toni Kroos will only play in the competitive game against the Dutch. Loew said he was giving the Real Madrid midfielder a rest.

Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus is back in the side after an excellent start to the season with his club, while Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry were also included.