Next up on the countdown to World Cup 2018 in Russia is tournament favourites and reigning world champions, Germany, who’ll be out to defend their crown. Jogi Loew’s side secured their spot in the history books with a a 1-0 win over Argentina in Brazil four years ago and they’ll look to move level with Brazil as the most successful team to win the tournament as they gun for their fifth World Cup.
Germany will hope to become just the third nation, after Italy and Brazil, to defend football’s greatest international trophy and having sailed through qualifying, they’ll be confident of landing glory in Russia. Indeed, Die Mannschaft won all 10 matches in qualifying as they batted Northern Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino to one side with ease, scoring 43 and conceding just four goals to guarantee their spot at the tournament.
Drawn alongside Mexico, South Korea and Sweden, Loew will demand three wins from three to guarantee their spot in the knockout stage. Landing top spot could be vital for Germany, with the winner of Group F facing the runner up of Group E, which means second spot could see the world champions come up against fellow tournament favourites Brazil, who’ll no doubt be out for revenge after the 7-1 dismantling on their own turf in 2014.
It could prove once more than Thomas Muller is vital for Germany and he’ll be aiming to add to his 10 World Cup goals. The Bayern ace scored five times at Brazil 2014 and comes into the tournament off the back of a commendable campaign that saw him register more assists (14) than any other Bundesliga player. An additional eight goals sees the 28-year-old enter the competition in good form.
Considering Germany’s attacking power, Muller will hope to move closer to compatriot Miroslav Klose as the World Cup’s leading goalscorer, with the former forward top of the pile with 16 goals to his name. While Muller was deployed as the lone forward in Loew’s adaptation of a false 9 four years ago, the Bayern star is expected to play a more supporting role in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which would allow Timo Werner to spearhead the offensive.
The long standing Liverpool target enjoyed a fine campaign in Germany’s top tier as he smashed in 13 league goals for RB Leipzig, while an additional seven assists highlighted his fine work to provide for teammates, which will serve as a boost for Muller and the rest of the Germany offensive.
Two goals and two assists in his last two league games of the season suggests the 22-year-old is coming into the World Cup in good form and despite his relative inexperience on the international stage – Werner has just 12 international caps, and seven goals, to his name for Germany – he’ll be the driving force of this seemingly unstoppable Germany attacking machine.
There is plenty of quality in every position for the world champions and it wouldn’t be a surprise to not only see Muller and Werner, among others, add to their fine international record, but to fire Germany to the World Cup in the process.
…with Gottlieb Baako (firstname.lastname@example.org)