Low on strikers: Germany's Euro squad contains just three forwards
07:11 GMT, 29 May 2012
Cacau, Marc-Andreter Stegen, Sven Bender and Julian Draxler have all been left out of Germany coach Joachim Low's final 23-man selection for Euro 2012.
Low announced his squad one day early on Monday, with the quartet flying back to Germany immediately.
The Germany coach, who took a 27-man squad into two training camps in Sardinia and France, will explain his choices on Tuesday when he will be working with his final group in the build-up to their first match of the tournament against Portugal on June 9.
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Stuttgart striker Cacau is a surprise exclusion as Low now takes only three forwards with him to Poland and Ukraine – Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hanover 96)
Defenders: Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke 04), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund).
Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Mario Goetze (Borussia Dortmund), Ilkay Guendogan (Borussia Dortmund), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Marco Reus (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Andre Schuerrle (Bayer Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich).
Forwards: Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Lukas Podolski (Cologne)
'It was my big goal after the World Cup in South Africa (in 2010) also to be part of Euro 2012 with the Germany national team,' Cacau said.
'I knew from the beginning that the competition for the 23 places would be hard and tight.
'I gave it my best shot. Like the younger players, I am also disappointed, but I still feel part of this team and wish them from the bottom of my heart that they play a great European Championships.'
Borussia Monchengladbach goalkeeper Ter Stegen made his international debut in Saturday's 5-3 defeat to Switzerland.
Despite not passing his first international test, he has vowed to bounce back.
'Of course I am disappointed,' he said on the website of the German Football Association (DFB).
'Nevertheless, these days with the national team were an interesting experience for me.
'Despite the defeat to Switzerland, my international debut was an important step in my career and I hope that I will get another chance again soon.
'I would like to wish the team much success at the European Championships.'
The exclusions of 19-year-old Draxler and Borussia Dortmund midfielder Sven Bender were less surprising, yet equally upsetting for the two players.
'Of course I would have loved to fly out to Poland and Ukraine,' Draxler said.
Left out: Stuttgart striker Cacau was a surprise omission
'But it has not worked out and now I am keeping my fingers crossed that the team wins the title.'
Bender, whose twin brother Lars has been included in the 23-man squad, added: 'Of course I am sorry to have to return home.
'At the same time, I am pleased for my brother Lars that he will be at the European Championships. “I hope that the team can realise our dream of winning the title.'
Lukas Podolski says Germany will be fit when it counts after a succession of recent disappointments for Joachim Low's national team.
Left out: Dortmund midfielder Sven Bender
A 5-3 defeat to Switzerland at the weekend came a week after Bayern Munich lost the final of the Champions League and there could justifiably be a few dropped heads in the Germany camp, but Podolski trusts their tournament mentality to kick in when it matters.
The eight Bayern players in Low's preliminary 27-man squad were put through their paces in training for the first time after the Champions League final today and that also gives Podolski reason to be optimistic.
'There is no doubt that with the eight Bayern players here, the quality improves,' he said.
'They are top guys and we have missed them.'
Their experience was certainly lacking on Saturday when Germany were humbled 5-3 by the Swiss. Yet Podolski is not reading too much into that result, or the performance, as he focuses on Germany's first group game against Portugal on June 9.
'It has been the same in previous years, when we lost 4-1 to Italy (in 2006), for example,' Podolski said on the website of the German Football Association (DFB).
'Of course defeats like this shouldn't happen and they hurt, and losing 5-3 to Switzerland is definitely not on, but I can promise there will be a different team on the field (against Portugal).
'We have got to live with the criticism. We are all focusing on Portugal and have got to be fit for that game, and we will be fit.'
To take their minds of the defeat in Basle, 25 members of Low's squad paid a visit to the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.
'It was a good day for us to get our heads free,' said Podolski.
'I enjoyed it and the lads enjoyed it too, but now we are focusing on the Euros.'