Germany head to the World Cup 2018 in Russia as one of the favourites to lift the Jules Rimet Trophy. The Germans won the 2014 edition of the tournament as the team outlasted Argentina in the final, 1-0.
Joachim Low’s team also had a memorable semifinal win on the way to championship game, dismantling host country Brazil, 7-1.
Germany have already started their preparations for the World Cup by extending Low’s contract. The manager will remain in the position until 2022. The move dashed all hope clubs like Arsenal had of snapping up the German’s signature.
In addition to signing a new deal, Low has released his provisional squad for this summer’s event. He has left Liverpool midfielder Emre Can and Borussia Dortmund attacker Mario Gotze out of his team. Can is still working his way back from injury and has missed out on Liverpool’s last two months of matches. Gotze scored Germany’s winning goal in the final four years ago, but the player’s form has declined in recent years following the goal.
In all, Germany have 27 players selected to the provisional side and four will be released before the team heads to Germany. One notable selection is Manuel Neuer. The goalkeeper has missed the club season due to a broken foot. It is hoped he can return to form even without playing a meaningful competitive game.
Germany will play in a difficult group on paper. Group F features Mexico, Sweden and South Korea alongside the reigning World Cup winners. Although it won’t be a group of death, the three remaining sides are very capable teams. Germany do have the better individual players, but their opponents won’t go easily.
If Germany have a weak point on paper, it is the squad’s forward line. Veterans Mario Gomez and Thomas Mueller are joined by Nils Petersen, Marco Reus and Timo Werner. Mueller’s selection to the final squad should be assured and Gomez brings plenty of international goal scoring experience to the team. His only drawback is consistency. Reus fought injury for much of the season but is an exciting creative player. The X-Factors for Germany will be Petersen and Werner.
Petersen scored 15 goals in the Bundesliga, the most by a German in the league. But it seems he is an outsider at this level. Werner tallied 13 for his club RB Leipzig. Both are talented strikers, but Werner is the player expected to go to Russia and be tasked with scoring goals. Quick, exciting and on the radar of Europe’s top clubs, Werner could earn a big money move with his performance in Russia.
Germany have a complete squad and Low’s side is well disciplined. The Germans will want to have a better showing than at Euro 2016 when they crashed out in the semifinal against France. Whether Germany can repeat as champions it is difficult to tell. The top teams at the World Cup all have immense talent. Germany have reach the semifinals or better at the last four World Cups. This year shouldn’t be any different.