World Cup 2018 – Germany team preview
Last updated: May 22, 2018 by Leon Marshal
The German national football team are number one in the FIFA World team rankings. They are also the reigning FIFA World Cup Champions and the FIFA Confederation Cup Champions. Alongside Italy, they have won the FIFA World Cup title four times with the last one of course being the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
In addition to that, Germany have won three European Championships and one Confederation Cup. They are the only nation to have won both the men’s and the women’s World Cups. Winning the 2017 Confederation Cup made them one of just four nations (including Brazil, Argentina and France) to win the three most important titles recognised by FIFA in their regions. Germany will be heading to Russia in a bid to become the first team to win consecutive World Cup titles since Brazil in 1962.
To be so successful on the world stage you need players who are legends and in Germany’s triumphant past they have had more than their fair share of them. Paul Breitner, Lothar Matthaus, Matthias Sammer, Fritz Walter, Gunter Netzer, Thomas Muller, Gerd, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Miroslav Klose, Berti Vogts, Michael Ballack and Jurgen Klinsmann would be contenders in anyone’s all-time fantasy football team.
How did they qualify for the World Cup in Russia?
Germany is in group F of the 2018 FIFA World Cup alongside Mexico, Sweden, and South Korea.
Regardless of the form of the other teams, the world number one team have never been knocked out in the group stages of the competition. With their current run of form, they are expected to sail through easily into the knockout phase.
Sweden qualified for the competition by beating their eventual qualification group winners France and outclassing four-times World Cup winners Italy to knock them out of the competition. Sweden will take a gamble playing the same young talented squad that sailed through the qualifiers leaving out their most decorated player Zlatan Ibrahimović. Mexico, on the other hand, boasts a couple of high profile players such as Carlos Vela, Giovani dos Santos, and Javier Hernandez. South Korea will be depending on Tottenham’s Son Heung-min and Swansea’s midfielder Ki Sung-Yeung.
Germany have an impressive record in the 84 qualification matches they have played, only losing two matches with an average of 2.5 points and 2.96 goals per match. How about that for a record? For this year’s competition they won all ten qualification matches, scoring 43 goals and conceding just 4 goals. Thomas Muller and Sandro Wagner were the top scorers in their qualification group with five goals each.
Germany’s key players
Toni Kroos – Kroos has proven himself as a world-class footballer after being effectively traded by Pep Guardiola in his time at Bayern Munich for Spanish sensation Xabi Alonso. Kroos was already playing in the Bayern first team while only 17-years of age and was part of the team that won a treble with the German giants. He played a pivotal part in the heart of German midfield to help his team win the 2014 FIFA World Cup, in which he was the assist leader in the tournament.
At Real Madrid, Kroos has formed a partnership with Croatian maestro Luka Modric. The pair have been the authoritative force in the midfield that led Real Madrid to two consecutive UEFA Champions League titles. Kroos has featured in 49 matches this season scoring 5 goals and creating 8 assists, not forgetting the magnificent average 93% completed pass rate. Kroos has been largely praised for having all the qualities for a complete midfielder. He has a strong physique to muscle down opponents, quick feet for good turns, and good vision to supply balls all over the field.
Thomas Müller – Thomas will be in the World Cup to prove himself as a world class striker having been constantly underrated and often forced into the shadows of other strikers. In the German National team, Müller was always second behind Miroslav Klose, who is the current FIFA World Cup all-time top goal scorer in the tournament. The 28-year-old scored five goals in six games to take home the golden boot in the 2010 World Cup and the silver boot in the 2014 World Cup which was enough to hand Germany the title in Brazil.
Müller is a versatile player with superb positioning, stamina, teamwork, and work-rate with a consistent goal scoring record. He will be Germany’s main striker in their bid for glory in Russia. This season he has scored 15 goals with 18 assists in 45 appearances.
Mesut Özil – Özil is a composed, patient player who is gifted with eagle eye vision to make a pass. Özil is a former Real Madrid player, currently playing for Arsenal. He is known for his great ability to create chances and assist goals. He was influential in the three seasons that Arsenal won the FA Cup. He has made an impressive total of 50 assists and has scored 29 goals for Arsenal since joining. There have been question marks regarding his commitment on occasions at club level but there are no such doubts at national level. Özil will be the player to make things happen for German on the attacking front.
Leroy Sane – The PFA Young Player of the Year has had a great title winning season with Manchester City. He scored 9 goals and made 12 assists being one of the standout players in the squad full of stars, especially with his unique dribbling and footwork skills. At just 22-years of age, the future looks bright for the young German.
Overview of the manager
Joachim Löw is a former German international player and has been the German head coach since 2006. He took over from Jurgen Klinsmann, making significant adjustments in the team’s style of play. Löw led Germany to the finals of Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup where they lost 1-0 to Spain. They could only manage a third place finish by beating Uruguay 3-2 in the third place playoffs. In Euro 2012, they were knocked out by Italy in the semi-final losing the match 2-1.
The manager’s most significant success came in the 2014 FIFA World Cup where he led the team to win the title by a narrow one goal against a scrappy Argentina team. Mario Götze came off the bench to score the title-winning goal in extra time. In the same tournament, they made a huge international statement by beating the host nation Brazil, the world’s most successful international team with five World Cup trophies, the score? An outrageous seven goals to one.
The coach already has 12-years on the job and will be the most experienced manager in the tournament. He has an impressive win percentage of 66.25%, losing only 24 matches of the 160 he has managed.
Strengths & Weakness
Familiarity and Experience – Most of the German national team players play for Bayern Munich and have been playing together for many years. They are familiar with each other’s playing style and even play the same system over the years. This has made the team very successful because every international duty is a continuation of club duty, with the addition of some of the world-class players from different leagues who come in to add more quality to the squad. The team’s golden strength is the familiarity in the defensive line, comprising of Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, and Joshua Kimmich, without forgetting their world class keeper Manuel Neuer.
Supporters of a Premier League winter break always point to the German national team’s success conveniently forgetting that our players are often nowhere near as good technically or mentally.
Injury – The squad has many of its key and most experienced players injured. Despite them being able to recover in time for the finals, most of them haven’t been playing consistently this season and may not be back to their best form when the competition starts.
Striking options – The retirement of Miroslav Klose has forced the manager to rely on Thomas Müller who has never played consistently as a true striker in his career. Although he was impressive in the qualification phase, it will be important that he delivers on the big stage.
The bar set by Klose was so high, even surpassing Ronaldo’s record for the amount of goals scored in the competition. In simple words, the team is all very well structured to create goals and play good football, the big question is, will Muller deliver goals especially when they need them the most?
What are Germany’s chances of winning the World Cup 2018?
I have been fortunate enough to work with many Germany supporters over the last five years and what amazes me as an England fan is how downbeat they can be even after winning the World Cup. And to me that’s the thing, they expect to win it and it is that winning mentality that our national team could only dream of possessing. In some ways you can draw comparisons with the successes of Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United teams of the past, few of the players that achieved so much were truly world-class but they had that winning mentality. My head tells me that Germany will lift this year’s World Cup.
Germany are the defending champions. They are the bookies second favourites to win this year’s World Cup trophy behind Brazil. The odds at the bookies for Germany to win the trophy are 5/1, which you can get at Coral.