The 2014 champions will be looking to repeat that success in Russia, and they have the squad to do it.
Germany World Cup Fixtures, Squad, Group, Guide
Germany vs Mexico (17th June)
The Germans are favourites, but have not had the perfect build up to the tournament. Match preview here.
Germany Starting XI: 1 Manuel Neuer, 18 Joshua Kimmich, 17 Jerome Boateng, 2 Marvin Plattenhardt (9 Mario Gomez 79), 5 Mats Hummels, 6 Sami Khedira (11 Marco Reus 60), 8 Toni Kroos, 7 Julian Draxler, 10 Mesut Ozil, 13 Thomas Muller, 9 Timo Werner (20 Julian Brandt 86)
Mexico Starting XI: 13 Guillermo Ochoa, 2 Hugo Ayala, 3 Carlos Salcedo, 15 Hector Moreno, 16 Hector Herrera, 7 Miguel Layun, 18 Andres Guardado (4 Rafael Marquez 74), 23 Jesus Gallardo, 11 Carlos Vela (21 Edson Alvarez 58), 14 Javier Hernandez, 22 Hirving Lozano (9 Raul Jimenez 66)
Germany 0 Mexico 1
Mexico: Lozano 35
Defending champions Germany lost their opening game for the first time since 1982 after they were stunned by Mexico, who pulled off their greatest World Cup performance.
Germany struggled to cope with Mexico’s pressing and speedy counter-attacks but for the opening half-hour Mexico were unable to supply the killer final ball. But they took a deserved lead when Hirving Lozano’s brilliant strike completed a devastating move as the Mexicans ripped apart the world champions on the counter-attack.
Germany were more composed in the second half and enjoyed more possession as they pressed forward. But Timo Werner and substitute Mario Gomez both missed excellent opportunities to equalise.
Matter of fact
By playing in this fifth World Cup, Rafael Marquez equalled the record of Antonio Carbajal (Mexico) and Lothar Matthaus (Germany). He alsobecame the first player to captain his country at five different World Cups.
Joshua Kimmich’s forays forward on Germany’s right flank left gaps for Mexico to exploit and Germany’s outnumbered central midfield of Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira were unable to cope with the counter-attacks. It was a thoroughly uncharacteristic performance from Germany, who lacked their usual composure and gave the ball away far too often.
Goal attempts: 25/12
Attempts on target: 9/6
Pass accuracy: 86/82
Distance covered: 110/106
Germany World Cup Guide
Compiling the best-ever World Cup qualifying campaign by a European team, Germany were absolutely ruthless, winning all 10 of their games and ending up with a gargantuan goal-difference of +39. Coach Joachim Low would have been especially pleased with the way his team shared the goals out, with no fewer than 21 players on the scoresheet.
Key Moments in Qualifying
Keeper Manuel Neuer makes his bow as captain, while Thomas Muller ends a 10-month international goal drought in a 3-0 win over Norway.
A 2-0 win in Hanover against Northern Ireland makes it three wins out of three, courtesy of goals from Julian Draxler and Sami Khedira.
Mats Hummels’ header secures a 2-1 victory in the Czech Republic but, furious at the behaviour of Nazi sympathisers in the stands in Prague, the German players refuse to celebrate with their fans at the final whistle.
Qualification is sealed as Northern Ireland are beaten 3-1 in Belfast.
Germany World Cup Group
Germany World Cup Friendlies
On the 23rd of March Germany drew 1-1- with Spain after a Thomas Muller strike. Four days later they then lost 1-0 to Brazil. On the 2nd of June they lost 2-1 to Austria, but six days later they beat Saudi Arabia by the same scoreline.
- 23rd March – Spain (drew 1-1)
- 27th March – Brazil (lost 1-0)
- 2nd June – Austria (lost 2-1)
- 8th June – Saudi Arabia (won 2-1)
Germany World Cup Fixtures
Joachim Low, age 57 (03.02.60)
Appointed July 2006 and under contract until 2020, he is currently Europe’s longest-serving national coach. “Jogi” has done a remarkable job as Bundestrainer, steering his side to the world title in 2014 and countless near-misses in other tournaments. He has also revolutionised the German style of play, abandoning the strong arm and the safety first for dynamism and creativity.
With his 20/20 vision, exceptional distribution and icy composure, midfield ace Toni Kroos is the man who sets the strategic tone. Whether it be on or off the pitch, centre-back Mats Hummels stands for immaculate leadership.
Following a spell in the international doldrums, Thomas Muller bounced back with a vengeance in the qualifiers, scoring five goals and making seven others. Joshua Kimmich was Germany’s only ever-present on the road to Russia, notably catching the eye with his nine assists.
Manuel Neuer sat out the bulk of the campaign with a broken foot. Beset by groin and cruciate ligament injuries, attacker Marco Reus did not play in a single qualifier.
Already spoilt for choice in the midfield department, Germany have discovered yet another ace schemer in Leon Goretzka. Striker Timo Werner made an immediate impact on the side, netting three goals in just two starts in qualifying.
Germany World Cup Squad
Final 23-man squad –
GOALKEEPERS: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Paris St-Germain)
DEFENDERS: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich)
MIDFIELDERS: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Paris St-Germain), Leon Goretska (Schalke), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich)
Probable Starting XI
Germany World Cup Injuries
Emre Can may not feature all that much considering the amount of midfield talent Germany has, but he could play in the less games if he recovers from his back injury suffered when playing for Liverpool.
Marco Reus is currently working his way back from a serious knee injury, and has often been beset by groin and ligament problems. He missed the 2014 World Cup with an ankle injury.
Jerome Boateng also has an injury in his hamstring that could keep him to of the tournament.
The Unanswered Questions
Who could pay the price for a lack of game time at club level?
Low has to be concerned that a number of his squad are either bench fodder or struggling with injuries, not least keeper Kevin Trapp and midfielder Julian Draxler at PSG, Dortmund wide-man Andre Schurrle and Juventus’ Benedikt Howedes.
Does Low have a full-back problem?
There is no real alternative to Joshua Kimmich at right-back and there is cause for concern on the other flank too. The usual incumbent, Jonas Hector – who has had regular ankle problems – has his limitations. RB Leipzig’s Marcel Halstenberg made his debut against England at Wembley.
False nine or target man?
Low has options. Either Mario Gomez as a traditional centre-forward, or Timo Werner as the crafty freewheeler. Nor is a strike-duo out of the question.
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