Germany the ‘hunted’ as they defend world crown
By Etta McEwan
Why they can win
While retaining a World Cup is notoriously difficult the reigning champions will arrive in 2018 to boast a formidable team and coach. Remaining undefeated in their qualifying rounds, the side contains quality players from across Europe’s top clubs.
Arguably the side presented for the 2018 World Cup is stronger than the one to leave Brazil victorious in 2014. Midfielder Toni Kroos was a key component of the 2014 team and will bring experience and knowledge to the World Cup side. The experience of defenders Jerome Boateng and Matt Hummels will provide the side with confidence when up against other world cup favourites. With a strong midfield to match the confidence in defence, on paper the German squad is one of the best in the competition.
What will stop them
While the team was undefeated in the qualifying rounds, their past friendly’s have seen them lose to Brazil and Austria. The side faces inexperience as many of the players from the 2014 team have retired from international football.
Alongside inexperience, there have been injury concerns for the first-choice keeper Manuel Neuer, who returned to the field a week ago and his participation in the World Cup hung in the balance for much of the recently ended domestic competition. Another concern for this German side is the lack of an experienced striker in the attacking third. While Thomas Mueller can play as a false nine, he is not a striker.
“Germany will be hunted like never before, and near-superhuman forces will be needed if we want to end up becoming world champions again,” said Joachim Low, German coach.
World ranking: 1
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer, Kevin Trapp, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen,
Defenders: Marvin Plattenhardt, Jonas Hector, Matthias Ginter, Mats Hummels, Niklas Suele, Antonio Rüdiger, Jerome Boateng, Joshua Kimmich
Midfielders: Sami Khedira, Julian Draxler, Toni Kroos, Mesut Oezil, Thomas Mueller, Leon Goretzka, Sebastian Rudy, Julian Brandt, Ilkay Gundogan
Forwards: Timo Werner, Marco Reus, Mario Gomez.
Notable omissions: Leroy Sane