Germany are the most consistent team in international football bar none. They have won the World Cup four times and also finished runners-up on four occasions. Moreover, they have also won three European Championship titles and finished runners-up three times.
In the last 10 World Cups, Germany have failed to reach the quarterfinals on only one occasion. Such an outrageously good record quite naturally makes Germany one of the pre-tournament favorites before any World Cup and this year’s World Cup is going to be no exception.
Germany will play against Japan, a tricky opponent on Asian soil, in their opening match in Qatar and will then have a major clash against former world-champions Spain. They should, however, have no problem dealing with Costa Rica in their last group match and should progress into the knock-out round without much difficulty.
In this article, we will try to analyze Germany’s chances in the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
Disappointing run in the recent past
Germany, despite their fantastic track record, have had a string of disappointing performances in the last two major tournaments they played in. They bowed out of the group stage in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, losing to Mexico and South Korea in the process.
Then they had a below-par showing in Euro 2020, losing to arch-rivals England in the knock-out round. As a result, Joachim Low was sacked and Hansi Flick was made the new manager of “Die Mannschaft”. However, Germany again failed to reach the semifinal of the UEFA Nations League, despite beating European Champions Italy quite convincingly in one of their matches.
Hence, there will be a fair amount of skepticism among the German fans before the start of the World Cup in Qatar. Still, it will be up to Flick and his men to remove those doubts and silence the critics with a performance befitting of a German national side.
A lot of first-timers for Germany this time around
A good number of players in the German squad have not yet played in any World Cup. Therefore, there should be an extra amount of motivation for them to perform and excel in the biggest of the stages.
Lukas Klostermann, David Raum, Antonio Rudiger, Leroy Sane, Kai Havertz, Robin Gosens, Jamal Musiala, Serge Gnabry and Niklas Sule are in the World Cup squad for the first time and should be looking to exceed expectations.
There are others like Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka, who were in the 2018 World Cup squad, but did not get much game time. However, they have grown in stature since then and have won the UEFA Champions League with Bayern Munich in 2019-20. They have also featured in the Euro 2020 and Kimmich was quite possibly Germany’s best player in the competition. Then there are the likes of Havertz and Rudiger, who won the Champions League in 2021 with Chelsea and established themselves as world-class players.
It will be up to the veterans like Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller, who are each going to feature in their fourth World Cup, to help their teammates with their considerable experience and timely interventions. Flick will rely a lot on the above two to keep things under control on the pitch.
Lessons should be learnt from the past
Flick should be well-advised to learn from the mistakes of the past and devise his strategy accordingly. Both Mexico and South Korea troubled the Germans with their rapid counter-attacks as their ageing centre-backs Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels struggled to cope with their opponents’ pace.
Low’s team suffered again in the Euro 2020 against the counter-attacks as neither Toni Kroos nor Ilkay Gundogan could contribute enough defensively. Low also made Gnabry play as the centre-forward when it was evident that the latter was much more comfortable and effective playing as a winger.
Flick will likely start in a 4-2-3-1 with Havertz likely to be their centre-forward. Sane and Gnabry will start on the wings and either Musiala or Muller should be the No. 10.
However, Germany will also depend a great deal on the double pivot of Kimmich and Goretzka, lend solidity to the defense along with aiding in attack. Kimmich, who played as a right-back in the Euro 2020, is renowned for his ability to cross well and should continue to act as a provider.
In addition to that, the overlapping ability of the likes of Gosens should come in handy, too. The defensive partnership of Sule and Rudiger will be put to stern test and Germany will depend on the lion-hearted Rudiger to be the mainstay in their defense.