Monday 22 January 2018

World Cup team preview: Germany

Mesut Ozil chips the ball over David Forde to score Germany’s third goal against Ireland in Cologne last October
Mesut Ozil chips the ball over David Forde to score Germany’s third goal against Ireland in Cologne last October

There are 17 days to go until the World Cup gets underway and there are 17 teams left to preview. Today it's the might German's.

Joachim Loew's team have to be considered among the pre-tournament favourites.

They have talented players and very few weaknesses in their side. Manuel Neuer is arguably the best goalkeeper in world football.

Their defence lacks depth but will be well marshaled by the likes of Philipp Lahm and Per Mertesacker.

In midfield they have an embarrassment of riches with the likes of Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle, Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze and Bastian Schweinsteiger in their ranks.

Their game with the Portuguese on June 16 will decide who tops the group

Group D: Portugal, Ghana and USA

Tournament Odds: 11/2

How they got here

Germany cruised through Group C in the European qualifying zone, a group which contained the Republic of Ireland.

They won nine of their 10 qualifiers including a 6-1 drubbing of Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

The Germans  hit 36 goals along the way, the most of any side in European zone qualifying. The three-time world champions’ eye-catching attacking displays have thrilled their fans and demonstrated why they are among the favourites to take the title in Brazil.

They did cough up a 4-0 lead at home to Sweden but that was the only blip in a flawless campaign.

Key player

Philipp Lahm is one of the most intelligent players on the planet.

One of the greatest right-backs the game has seen and is just as effective in the holding midfielkd role Pep Guardiola has deployed him in at Bayern this season.

Germanys Philipp Lahm in action during the international soccer friendly match against Chile.

Something you didn't know about Germany

If you ask a German the time and are told “halb drei” (literally “half three”) the time is in fact half past two (half two in English). Germans count the minutes to the next hour rather than after.

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