By Douglas Smith @DFresh39 on May 1, 2014
Joachim Loew will be naming his preliminary roster for the World Cup in the coming two weeks and still has to decide on depth at defense and striker. Players not on this list who could be brought into camp include Sidney Sam, Lars Bender and Bernd Leno. Erik Durm is a promising young defender at Dortmund who has an outside chance. This month's roster prediction includes an unconventional midfield setup to optimize the total amount of talent.
The only way Neuer doesn't start is if he gets an injury. He has seen more balls go in the net behind him than usual with Bayern Munich, but many of them have been from poor defending, not poor goalkeeping.
Marcel Schmelzer looks to have recovered from a groin injury sustained at the end of March. His favored left foot will be beneficial to the German team at this position. It is his natural position, but it is Germany's weakest. Dennis Aogo will miss the World Cup and Marcell Jansen's play at Hamburg is moving him off the roster.
Howedes could move to right-back along with Jerome Boateng depending on where Philipp Lahm is deployed. He is versatile and strong. He has returned to full training with Schalke and will have plenty of time to regain fitness. Howedes' starting role is very much in jeopardy given the injury. Per Mertesacker and Boateng are right on his heels.
Hummels is the target of transfer rumors to Manchester United, but will focus on the World Cup first and foremost. He is the the most well-rounded defender on the team and should be a part of the starting pair in central defense. He is great on the ball, makes timely tackles and is a force in the air.
Although Philipp Lahm would like to play in the holding midfield spot, he will be needed at right-back. He is still arguably one of the best right-backs in the world, and his team will benefit from him playing there.
This is not the best role for Schweinsteiger, but in this unorthodox formation he will be tasked with helping out the defense. He can be disciplined if given the role. He will be on the field for Germany, but his position is subject to the health of Sami Khedira, who recently returned to full training.
Mesut Ozil has returned in fine form to Arsenal, which is a weight off of Joachim Loew's back. He is good playing off the striker, but dropping back would be giving him free reign on the midfield. Once again, all these positions could be switched depending on health, but this would create a dynamic diamond in front of Schweinsteiger.
Marco Reus seems to be a lock to start given his form at Dortmund. Prior to Dortmund's recent form, he was locked in a battle at one of the deepest positions on the team. He is another German rumored for a summer move to Manchester United.
Mario Goetze has played in the false nine position for club and country. He could end up there, but the set of attacking players calls for a true target. Goetze and Ozil could interchange and continually threaten opponents' back lines.
Thomas Muller could play in any number of positions and even come on as an impact sub. However, if he sees the field for the majority of the tournament, he could sneak into the Golden Boot discussion. Lukas Podolski could be another option here as a plethora of attacking options means players may have to switch away from their preferred side.
Klose will get a chance to break Ronaldo's goal scoring record despite battling injuries for most of the season. He thinks this will be his last international tournament, so he will rush back to fitness if he can. Loew may start Klose and move to the false nine quickly. If Loew calls in only two traditional strikers in May for camp, then he is putting all his faith in the depth of his attacking midfield.
There are not many changes in the list of reserves. The third-choice keeper continues to fluctuate and Julian Draxler has not been convincing.
GK: Roman Weidenfeller, Ron-Robert Zieler
D: Jerome Boateng, Per Mertesacker, Kevin Grosskreutz
M: Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira, Lukas Podolski, Andre Schurrle, Julian Draxler
F: Mario Gomez, Max Kruse
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