The greatest tournament of football has almost arrived. Every player is ready to commit with fullest of their passion to bring the greatest honour of football to their nation.
Four times winner and the defending champions Germany are one of the favourites to lift the Cup again this time
● Squad Analysis:
A strong squad has been announced. Marc Andre Ter Stegan has been selected as the sweeper keeper who has been sensational this year for La Liga winners Barcelona and is one of the main reasons behind their almost invincible season losing only 1 match. Last time’s golden glove winner Manuel Neuer was injured since September last year because of a hairline fracture in left foot and didn’t play this season but he has recovered and has started training. Loew has said if he has taken Neuer to the World Cup then that is not for keeping him on the bench.
Boateng got injured during 1st leg of UCL semis and won’t be back till knockouts but Sule and Rudiger both are in fine form. After Lahm’s retirement Kimmich had huge shoes to fill but he has lived up to the expectations this season scoring in both legs of UCL semi final. Hummels has been undoubtedly one of the best defenders of Bundesliga and has performed upto his reputation. Sule has also been good whenever Boateng didn’t play and his partnership with Hummels has clicked well. Rudiger has won FA Cup with Chelsea this season and has been their best centre-back after Azpilicueta. Despite FC Koln’s bad performance this season, Jonas Hector has been in his usual best assisting and scoring twice.
Last year’s DFB Pokal winner Marco Reus after recovering from his injury have played well for Dortmund and has been selected and have high chance of starting. He has scored 7 times in 11 games he played. Draxler has been best player of FIFA Confederations Cup and has been selected. He didn’t play many games for PSG still managed to score 4 and provide 5 goals. Tony Kroos has been a masterclass for Germany and was one of the main reasons behind their win last time where he took Real Madrid to back to back three UCL glories. Goretzka who was one of the three top scorers scoring thrice in the Confederations Cup has played really well this season. Khedira, one of the most experienced players of this squad has scored a hat-trick for Juventus in Serie A being a defensive midfielder. Muller will be one of the main performers of World Cup scoring 5 goals in last world cup including a hattrick. Arsenal had a bad season this time winning no silverware and also failing to qualify for UCL but Ożil performed with his usual consistency assisting 8 times
The highest goalscorer of World Cup Klose having 16 goals has retired and will not play in this time. Germany are going to play in a World Cup without Klose for the first time after 1998. Timo Werner has huge boots to fill and he has the potential to do so as he scored 3 times in the Confederations Cup and has to provide a similar performance in World Cup also.
They have a balanced defensive midfield and attack with all three being strong areas with defence and midfield being in a better position than their attack which is a bit inexperienced with their main striker Timo Werner going to play his first World Cup. The omission of Sandro Wagner and Mario Gomez raised some eyebrows but Loew is having faith on youth.
● Probable XI:
○ Formation: 4-2-3-1
Kimmich, Hummels, Sule, Hector, Khedira, Kroos, Muller, Ozil, Reus, Timo Werner
● Team Rating:
○ Goalkeepers: 10
○ Defenders: 9
○ Midfield: 8
○ Attack: 8.5
○ Overall Rating: 8.75
(Ratings out of 10)
● Past Record In World Cup :
The defending champions have won it 4 times in past years. Their 1st glory came in 1954 by making a comeback after going 2-0 down within 8 minutes but coming back to snatch it from Hungary after the third and winning goal scored by Helmut Rahn.
Their 2nd win came after 20 years under the leadership of Beckenbauer where they again made a comeback this time against Rinus Michel’s Netherlands. They went 1-0 down after 2 mins by penalty scored by Neeskens but they pulled back 2 goals with the winning one scored by Gerd Muller.
3rd win came in 1990 against then defending champions Argentina by 1-0 with the only goal scored by Andreas Brehme who converted the spot kick given away by Edgardo Codesal by a foul in the box on Rudi Voller.
After that it took 24 years to win their 4th one. They went to the finals after a demolishing performance against host nation Brazil winning by 1-7 against storyline. They went on to win the final against Argentina after the winning goal scored by Mario Gotze in extra time. It was the first World Cup victory of unified Germany.
● Manager’s Quote :
“I’m optimistic and I assume that Manuel Neuer is able to make it,” he told Bild after Neuer was given squad number one in Germany’s party earlier this week.
“He has now been back in Bayern’s training for more than two weeks and has reached the maximum load of physical demand. I think he can maintain this load in our training camp.
“Only Manuel himself can evaluate in the end if he still has subconscious fears. He promised us that we’ll talk about that honestly. He is aware of his responsibility for himself and the team as well.”
Despite this confidence, Low reiterated that the onus remains on Neuer to prove his fitness.
“Manuel goes to the World Cup as a player who is a 100 per cent ready to play – otherwise he won’t,” he added.
“It won’t be that he only goes with us as a captain who just sits on the bench.”
● Recent Form:
Germany are in a frenzy of as form they cruised their way through the qualifiers topping Group C by winning all matches. All though they have lost their recent friendly match against Brazil by 1-0 .
● Writer’s Take:
It wont be easy for Germany as players like Philipp Lahm, Klose, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Podolski who had huge contributions behind their success last time have retired and many young players like Timo Werner, Marc Andre Ter Stegen, Goretzka, Draxler and many more are going to make their 1st World Cup appearance this time. So lack of experience is going to be an obvious problem but many of these debutants already made their impact for Germany by winning Confederations Cup. The experienced players like Kroos, Ozil, Muller and others are there to guide them and overcome this and probably the only problem which they may face .
All over Germany are in a great position to win it again and becoming the first team since Brazil to win back to back World Cups who did it 56 years ago.