Predicting Germany’s World Cup Roster
Die Mannschaft World Cup Roster Prediction
When you are one of the biggest contenders to hoist the World Cup trophy not only does it mean the expectations are high, but also that the talent pool is overflowing. German National Team coach Joachim Löw will have some tough decisions to make in the starting eleven and to fill in the end of the bench. It would be a good problem to have for any national team coach, but after a poor performance in their last friendly, the coach may be rethinking some pieces to the roster.
Germany managed to get a 1-0 victory over Chile this week, but it was less than impressive. Chile was able to exploit open space on the wings and get into attacking areas. Home fans were not happy with the performance and Löw was disappointed. The Germans had to be very direct and they were good at it, but they could not break down the Chile defense.
Luckily, for Löw the depth of the team is through the midfield. There are 13 good candidates to take to Brazil and one recovering from a major injury. The German team has the best midfield that will feature in Brazil but it is more about chemistry. The lot of midfielders will allow the team to be rested and ensure fitness as up to 10 midfielders help fill out the 23 player roster.
Defense and forward may not be as competitive for die Mannschaft, but there are still some questions. The keeper situation is pretty clear, but there is one interesting conundrum. Could Löw take just two goalkeepers to get another talented midfielder like Sidney Sam on the field? That would be quite the risk.
Here is the team as it stands after the last official FIFA friendly day barring any injuries. Check back the first Thursday of each month for the latest take on die Mannschaft roster.
GK - Manuel Neuer
When you are in the conversation for best goalkeeper in the world, you generally start for your national team. Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich was in that discussion before last year's Champions League and solidified his place among the best. There is no question here.
LB - Jerome Boateng
This is not Jerome Boateng's normal position but it is more about having the top talent on the field. Boateng is one of the players on the German squad that may be playing extra games in the Champions League so fitness could be an issue. Löw has favored Marcel Schmelzer at this position and he will remain in play but lacks international experience.
CB - Benedikt Howedes
The two best qualities about having Benedikt Howedes at center back are his tackling ability and his ability in the air. If Boateng is on the edge, Howedes would easily slide here. However his inclusion is just as much about his partner as it is about his ability.
CB - Mats Hummels
Howedes and Mats Hummels have played together since the youth leagues and know each other's style of play. Hummels steps up more in the offense, but has also had experience playing against Cristiano Ronaldo. Hummels did have an injury issue at the beginning of February but returned to Borussia Dortmund's starting squad on March 1.
RB - Philip Lahm
Germany's captain Philip Lahm has been playing more in the midfield and says he would love to hold that role permanently. However, the skill in the midfield will push Lahm to his right back position. This would optimize the talent on the field and also help with some of that edge defending that troubled Germany this week.
DM - Bastian Schweinsteiger
Having just returned from injury it will take some time for Bastian Schweinsteiger to get back to full fitness but it is a safe bet that he would be in the starting line up. Schweinsteiger could be one of the players subbed off later in the match during the final World Cup preparation matches if he regains the fitness in the stretch run with Bayern Munich. In what could be a very narrow midfield, Schweinsteiger would take a familiar role of hanging deeper in a conservative defensive position.
CM - Toni Kroos
After a little contract drama earlier in the year, Toni Kroos looks focused again. Kroos has been setting passing records in Champions League play this year and is a great facilitator in the middle. He also has the ability to find the net from distance. Ilkay Gündoğan could find time in this role as well.
LW - Andre Schurrle
After scoring a hat trick for Chelsea last week, it seems foolish to leave André Schürrle on the bench. There are plenty of options in this role as well, but Schürrle is getting great experience. His ability to finish has grown and his consistency is remarkable. He likes to play on the right but will be good slicing in with good pace and movement. Schürrle has scored 11 goals in 31 appearances for his country.
CAM - Mesut Ozil
At times it seems like all those high expectations for Germany are placed squarely on the shoulders of Mesut Özil. He was one of the first players booed during the match against Chile but was the player that set up the winning goal. His direct play and passing was very good in that match. Yes he has had some struggles, but he has done nothing to lose a starting role.
RW - Thomas Muller
The focus of Thomas Müller has been on the Champions League and the World Cup since January when he told the media the Bundesliga title was settled. Müller is a direct option as players seem to always know where he is and would link up well with the passing of the talented midfielders. This leaves Marco Reus and Julian Draxler as bench options. Müller's ability to get into tight spaces and time smart runs makes him a candidate for the Golden Boot.
F(Kind Of) - Mario Goetze
Part of the experimentation with the German team is playing a false nine type of formation without a true target forward. Mario Götze has been playing this roll and scored the only goal against Chile. His ability to finish has continually improved and his versatility makes him harder to track. Götze will be in the starting eleven but he may end up playing just off a natural striker. Götze has tallied three goals in six Champions League matches this season to go along with his six goals in club play.
Rest of the Roster
Having such a large talent pool means that some really good players are not going to make the trip to Brazil. Players like Sam and Lars and Sven Bender most likely will be sitting at home. Stefan Kießling has struggled along with his team Bayer Leverkusen so he has hurt his chances.
Germany should take three goalies as the difference between the second- and third-choice keepers is minimal. Roman Weidenfeller would be fourth on this list and could take the third spot.
GK: Rene Adler, Marc-Andre ter Stegen
The defense may have the least amount of depth in the German pool, but still has viable options. Kevin Großkreutz has been impressive in his movement and Per Mertesacker is one of the most experienced center backs as he closes in on 100 national team appearances.
D: Großkreutz, Mertesacker, Schmelzer
As mentioned, the midfield talent is very deep. There will be a few players that were involved in World Cup preparations not going to Brazil.
MF: Reus, Draxler, Gündoğan, Lucas Podolski
Germany will take strikers with them even if they decide not to deploy them to start. Depending on the opponent one of these forwards may start before moving to a more unconventional formation. The surprise here is youngster Max Kruse who has come on this season and seems to be fueled by his chance to get to the World Cup.
F: Kruse, Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose