Germany 23-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain)
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jonas Hector (FC Cologne), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich)
Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain), Leon Goretzka (Schalke 04), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Mario Gomez (VfB Stuttgart), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig)
Germany World Cup 2018 fixtures:
Germany – Mexico (17 June), Moscow
Germany – Sweden (23 June), Sochi
South Korea – Germany (27 June), Kazan
The defending World Champions were the only team with a perfect record during the qualifying process. They won all 10 games on the way to winning Group C with a 43:4 goal difference. All of that was achieved without a single footballer scoring more than five goals. That epitomizes what Joachim Low’s Germany is all about – teamwork. The team always comes first for the national team manager, who has a bevy of world superstars at his disposal. Getting them to play together is his job and Low has done it amazingly ever since he took over. That’s why Germany is the favorite to win it all.
The group (F) in which they were drawn is a tricky one. All three opponents, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, are dangerous in their own specific way, but they shouldn’t represent a problem for this experienced squad. If Brazil does what is expected, then either Serbia or Switzerland should await Germany in the Round of 16. Belgium, England and Poland are the potential quarter-final opponents.
Bernd Leno, Shkodran Mustafi, Jonathan Tah, Mario Gotze, Emre Can and Leroy Sane are the most well-known names to have been omitted from the 23-man squad travelling to Russia. Sane’s exclusion caused a shockwave around the world yesterday, with the wide audience taking his presence among the 23 selected for granted. Joachim Low preferred to go with a similar-profiled, but less exciting Timo Werner at the wing position. The decision is startling, yet further analysis shows that it should’ve been anticipated. Sane hasn’t been a regular for Germany and Low uses a different system compared to Guardiola’s. In Manchester City, Sane operates as an attacking winger, which allows his skill set to flourish. Die Mannschaft’s coach prefers passers, who cut inside far more often than they hug the line. Therefore, Sane became a victim of a system. Another slight surprise was Joachim’s choice to keep Sebastian Rudy over Emre Can, although the former Liverpool defensive midfielder battled injuries during the second half of the season and might not have been deemed fit enough.
Regardless of how you see it, Germany has one of the best squads in the tournament. Nobody will want to face the defending champions, but, on the other hand, everyone will be extra motivated to topple them when they do.