2014 World Cup: Predicting Germany’s Starting XI

Predicting Germany's Starting XI

2014 World Cup Predicting Germany's Starting XI
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German National Team coach Jogi Loew is nervously watching Sami Khedira's fitness as he returns from a major injury. Khedira's health and a belief in the false nine system will dictate who gets the starting nod against Portugal on June 16. There could be some rotation in the back line as well.

GK - Manuel Neuer

Manuel Neuer
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Gk - Manuel Neuer

Manuel Neuer
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No questions here. Neuer has been sharp all year. Bayern Munich suffered from bad form in the last couple months, but Neuer never slumped.

LB - Marcel Schmelzer

marcel Schmelzer
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LB - Marcel Schmelzer

marcel Schmelzer
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Schmelzer is really the only natural left back on the roster. He will be backed up by a couple of utility guys who will be asked to play various positions, Jerome Boateng and Kevin Grosskreutz.

CB - Per Mertesacker

Per Mertesacker
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CB - Per Mertesacker

Per Mertesacker
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Mertesacker has been solid for Arsenal. People often criticized his speed and that he can look awkward at time, but those critics were silenced. Mertesacker will rely on his ability to read the play to be in the right position.

CB - Mats Hummels

Mats Hummels
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CB - Mats Hummels

Mats Hummels
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Hummels had a bad spell in the fall followed by an ankle injury in the spring. However, his ability to make a saving tackle or play out of pressure should give him the first chance at center back. Boateng could slot here as well.

RB - Philipp Lahm

Philip Lahm
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RB - Philipp Lahm

Philip Lahm
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Lahm is listed as a defender on the preliminary roster despite wanting to play in the midfield. Right back is the position that Lahm should play to optimize the talent on the field for his nation. If Khedira cannot go, then Lahm could be moved to the midfield.

DM - Bastian Schweinsteiger

Bastian Schweinsteiger
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DM - Bastian Schweinsteiger

Bastian Schweinsteiger
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At this point it also seems a foregone conclusion that Schweinsteiger will be in the midfield. Where he lines up will once again depend on Khedira. There is a chance that this could be his last World Cup, so he will be motivated to be on the field.

CM - Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos
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CM - Toni Kroos

Toni Kroos
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Should Khedira not be fit to play the full 90 when Germany gets to Brazil, Loew should go with the Bayern Munich partnership of Kroos and Schweinsteiger to interchange in front of the back line. This could lead to a 4-2-3-1 or even something that resembles a 4-1-4-1.

LM - Marco Reus

Marco Reus
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LM - Marco Reus

Marco Reus
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Marco Reus is explosive and peaking at the right time. He has to be on the field in his comfortable left side attacker role. He will join the team after the DFB Pokal Final. His backup is likely Julian Draxler.

CAM - Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil
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CAM - Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil
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Mesut Ozil returned from injury at the right time. He should be set up behind the false nine player initially. However, this system allows for a more flowing front line so don't expect Ozil to remain central.

RM - Thomas Mueller

Thomas Mueller
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RM - Thomas Mueller

Thomas Mueller
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Mueller is a sneaky candidate for the golden boot. He manages to always find a soft spot in the defense and can get into tight spaces. He could also play the false nine role. With Lahm overlapping, he may move centrally and interchange with Ozil and Mario Goetze.

False 9 - Mario Goetze

Mario Goetze
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False 9 - Mario Goetze

Mario Goetze
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With only two strikers called into camp, the false nine looks to be what Loew is leaning toward as his attack philosophy. Goetze has played this role for club and country. He is very shifty and can make the role work. This front line will be very fluid as the approach could change depending on the opponent.

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