Germany’s disappointment at the 2018 FIFA World Cup forced a change within the national team, with manager Joachim Low eventually opting to step away from the top job last year.
Hansi Flick has re-infused his squad with optimism ahead of Qatar 2022, with Germany’s World Cup record making them favourites.
Despite a group stage exit in Russia four years ago, Germany have been one of the most consistent national teams in World Cup history, with a triumph in 2014 alongside two semi-finals and a runner-up finish since 2002.
With a balanced squad including an experienced core and some of Europe’s most exciting youngsters, Flick will be confident of undoing the damage of 2018, although late injuries to star players Tim Werner and Marco Reus will complicate matters.
Germany World Cup squad 2022
For a while it had been known that Leipzig forward Timo Werner would miss the showpiece event with an ankle injury but news that Dortmund’s Marco Reus will also miss the tournament through injury will have caused a sense of sadness amongst German ranks and supporters alike.
Wonder kid Florian Wirtz also missed out after failing to recover from injury in time and there was no place for decorated centre back Mats Hummels.
There is however a surprise inclusion in the form of midfielder Mario Gotze who hasn’t played for the German national team since 2017. The World Cup winning goalscorer in 2014 has had a few exceptional past season firstly with PSV and now Eintracht Frankfurt and as such, Flick likely see’s him as the perfect replacement for Reus.
|Goalkeeper||Manuel Neuer||Bayern Munich (GER)||36||113|
|Goalkeeper||Marc-Andre ter Stegen||Barcelona (SPA)||30||30|
|Goalkeeper||Kevin Trapp||Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)||32||6|
|Defender||Armel Bella-Kotchap||Southampton (ENG)||20||1|
|Defender||Mattias Ginter||SC Freiburg (GER)||28||46|
|Defender||Christian Gunter||Freiburg (GER)||29||6|
|Defender||Thilo Kehrer||West Ham (ENG)||26||22|
|Defender||Lukas Klostermann||RB Leipzig (GER)||26||18|
|Defender||David Raum||RB Leipzig (GER)||24||11|
|Defender||Antonio Rudiger||Real Madrid (SPA)||29||54|
|Defender||Nico Schlotterbeck||Borussia Dortmund (GER)||22||5|
|Defender||Niklas Sule||Borussia Dortmund (GER)||27||42|
|Midfielder||Julian Brandt||Borussia Dortmund (GER)||26||38|
|Midfielder||Julian Draxler||Benfica (POR)||29||58|
|Midfielder||Leon Goretzka||Bayern Munich (GER)||44||14|
|Midfielder||Ilkay Gundogan||Manchester City (ENG)||31||62|
|Midfielder||Mario Gotze||Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)||30||63|
|Midfielder||Jonas Hofmann||B. Monchengladbach (GER)||30||16|
|Midfielder||Joshua Kimmich||Bayern Munich (GER)||27||70|
|Midfielder||Jamal Musiala||Bayern Munich (GER)||19||17|
|Midfielder||Marco Reus||Borussia Dortmund (GER)||33||48|
|Forward||Karim Adeyemi||Borussia Dortmund (GER)||20||4|
|Forward||Niclas Fullkrug||Werder Bremen (GER)||29||0|
|Forward||Serge Gnabry||Bayern Munich (GER)||27||36|
|Forward||Kai Havertz||Chelsea (ENG)||23||30|
|Forward||Thomas Muller||Bayern Munich (GER)||33||118|
|Forward||Leroy Sane||Bayern Munich (GER)||26||47|
Germany national team stars, strengths & weaknesses
Previous World Cup perceptions of Germany were shattered in Russia in 2018 when they bowed out at the group stage. Flick will be under some pressure to wipe that from the national footballing memory.
The likelihood is that of 2018 being a blip in Germany’s World Cup record, with a minimum of a semifinal appearance in every other edition since the turn of the century.
Flick has a reputation as one of the best young coaches in the international game, but a Round of 16 exit at Euro 2021 did not do him justice.
The Bayern Munich duo of Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller look set for their final World Cup, but it is their Bavarian teammates who could hold the key for Flick in Qatar.
Joshua Kimmich’s excellence as a midfield pivot is the basis on which Germany are built alongside the goals and creativity of Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane out wide.
Antonio Rudiger will underpin the German defence as part of the Neuer-Kimmich-Muller spine and it will be an ability to control central areas that could be crucial for Flick.
Manchester City star Ilkay Gundogan will partner Kimmich in midfield with Leon Goretzka also drafted in if Germany need an extra body in midfield.
Flick is likely to rotate between Muller and Chelsea star Kai Havertz as a false No. 9 in Qatar, but despite their respective ability to score important goals, they do not have the potency of a Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Robert Lewandowski as a lead attacker.
Timo Werner had regained his form at RB Leipzig this season, but the torn ankle ligament injury picked up on November 2 ruled him out of the tournament.
Germany World Cup group
Germany travel to Qatar with a FIFA rank of No.12 and they will be confident of making it out of Group E.
Their second group game against Spain on November
27, looks to be Flick’s first major World Cup test, either side of facing Japan and Costa Rica.
World Cup Group E fixtures and match schedule
|Wed, Nov. 23||Germany vs. Japan||8 a.m.||Khalifa Int’l|
|Wed, Nov. 23||Spain vs. Costa Rica||11 a.m.||Al Thumama|
|Sun, Nov. 27||Japan vs. Costa Rica||5 a.m.||Ahmad Bin Ali|
|Sun, Nov. 27||Spain vs. Germany||2 p.m.||Al Bayt|
|Thurs, Dec. 1||Japan vs. Spain||2 p.m.||Khalifa Int’l|
|Thurs, Dec. 1||Costa Rica vs. Germany||2 p.m.||Al Bayt|
Germany vs. Japan squad, lineup
Despite missing the final round of UEFA Nations League games, captain Ter Stegen will return as first choice, as a key voice in Flick’s squad.
Rudiger will also come back in, to partner Niklas Sule in central defence, with attacking left-back Robin Gosens a possible option if Flick wants to start on the front foot.
Flick can do without Goretzka in the opening game, with an exciting Bayern inspired trio of Gnabry, Sane and Jamal Musiala, behind either Muller or Havertz.
Germany projected starting XI vs Japan
Goalkeeper: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen
Defenders: Thilo Kehrer — Niklas Sule — Antonio Rudiger — David Raum
Midfielders: Joshua Kimmich — Ilkay Gundogan
Attacking Mids: Serge Gnabry — Jamal Musiala — Leroy Sane
Forward: Kai Havertz