World Cup Team Profile - Germany
Coach: Joachim Low
Captain: Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)
Full Germany Roster
The Road to Rio: But for a crazy Sweden comeback in Berlin that saw the Germans concede four times in the last half-hour, the road through qualifying would have been a perfect 10. That game notwithstanding, Germany were their usual precise, punishing selves, only once scoring fewer than three goals in a game.
Mesut Ozil was the best of the bunch, dropping eight goals in 10 games, but he had plenty of help from his teammates. Marco Reus chipped in five while Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller Andre Schurrle and Miroslav Klose were all good for four apiece.
The most points. The most goals. Never in doubt.
Last World Cup appearance: South Africa 2010 (Third Place)
First World Cup appearance: Italy 1934 (Third Place)
Previous World Cup appearances: 17
Best World Cup finish: Champions (3 - Switzerland 1954, West Germany 1974, Italy 1990)
Die Mannschaft ran roughshod over their qualifying group and Joachim Low’s side heads into Brazil with high expectations. After a third-place finish in South Africa, Germany has its eyes set firmly on a fourth World Cup, but drawing into this year’s Group of Death could have something to say about their ambitions.
The key to Germany’s charge will be its absolutely stacked midfield. Few, if any, other teams in the tournament possess what amounts to an embarrassment of riches that the Germans have in the middle of the field. Even with the health of Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira (the 27-year-old featured in the Champions League final, but looked well short of match fitness after returning from a torn ACL incurred in November) still up in the air and the absence of Marco Reus (Dortmund), the fluidity and creativity of Low’s midfield options have allowed Low to move to a 4-2-3-1 set-up from the standard 4-4-2 favoured by predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann that found success. If Khedira can’t go, Bayern’s Toni Kroos would make a fine replacement in the starting XI to work alongside club teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger ahead of the defence.
If Low does indeed go with a false number nine formation, he’s going to look for the offensive load to be carried by the likes of Thomas Muller (Bayern) and Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) with the seemingly ageless Miroslav Klose of Lazio waiting on the bench in case an out-and-out forward needs to be deployed. The soon-to-be 36-year-old needs just one goal in this, his fourth and final World Cup, to equal Brazilian legend Ronaldo’s all-time tournament goal-scoring record with 15.
For all of the Germans’ attacking prowess, their defence is competent and efficient, but one that isn’t particularly deep or possesses many recognizable names outside of the starters. Still with one of the world’s finest ‘keepers in Manuel Neuer (Bayern) manning the goal and captain Lahm and Mats Hummels (Dortmund) anchoring central defence, to call Germany’s defence its weak spot would be both insulting and simply untrue.
If the Germans can master the Brazilian heat and get by good, but beatable opponents in the United States, Portugal and Ghana in Group F, Low’s men will be poised to make a charge at another world title.
This is one of the teams to beat, if not the tournament’s finest squad.