Germany: World Cup 2014 Team Preview
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover).
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Erik Durm (Borussia Dortmund), Kevin Grosskreutz (Borussia Dortmund), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal).
Midfielders: Julian Draxler (Schalke), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Mario Gotze (Bayern Munich), Christoph Kramer (Borussia Monchengladbach), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich).
Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal).
Best Ever Finish: Winners (1954, 1974, 1990)
Manager: Joachim Loew
Captain: Philipp Lahm
Aside from an absolutely bonkers 4-4 draw against Sweden in Berlin, Germany won every single game in their qualifying group.
Manager Loew is now approaching his tenth year in charge of Die Mannschaft. Despite having overseen the recent renaissance in German football, there are quiet murmurings emerging that suggest it is about time Loew won something with this marvellous crop of footballers.
The squad is absolutely crammed with a class. Loew can choose from combination of thoroughbred, experienced winners and some of the world’s top young talents. The result is a team that has developed a fearsome reputation and a rightful tag as one of the favourites to win a fourth World Cup.
Loew has fashioned a squad that has a sprinkling of everything. Their first XI is difficult to pick, but that’s because of the riches this German team have in pretty much every position on the pitch. From one to eleven, they are so well covered. So much so that a host of top class players will miss out on Loew’s final 23-man squad.
In the image of the Bundesliga’s two outstanding teams – Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich – Germany press the ball exceptionally well and play a high octane, vibrant, attacking style of football. When done well, it is great to watch and hugely difficult for opposition to stifle, as we were all witness to in the Champions League last season.
Any weaknesses? Sami Khedira is usually Bastian Schweinsteiger’s primary companion in the middle of the field, but he is set to miss the majority of this season through injury. But Toni Kroos, Lars Bender or Sven Bender are more than capable replacements if the Real Madrid man is not up to speed.
Yep, the Germans are looking exceptionally strong. With this level quality within their ranks, anything less than glory has to be seen as disappointment this summer, despite the tough group they’ve been drawn in. Over to you Loew!
Key Man – Thomas Muller
The Bayern Munich man can play anywhere across the frontline and has an incredible knack of scoring hugely important goals at vital times.
He was drafted in as a late starter in the last Word Cup, replacing the injured Michael Ballack. And boy did he impress. Having netted in the first group game, Muller scored twice against England in the last 16 and bagged the opener against Argentina in the quarterfinal. The Bayern man missed out on the semifinal after suspension, but went on to score again in the third place playoff against Uruguay.
Muller won the Golden Boot and the award for best young player at the tournament. Since then, he has gone from strength to strength for club and country.
He plays from the right-hand-side for the national team, but still offers a major goal threat. His ability to link up with the midfield and the front man is excellent, but what sets him apart is his anticipatory instincts and intelligent movement. In amongst all of Germany’s delicate manipulators of the ball, his unique, direct playing style is a crucial attacking variant.