The German national team have a big year ahead of them. Now that they have successfully secured World Cup qualification, they will begin working on their campaign to defend their crown of World Cup champions. How is their squad shaping up?
Since the last World Cup, the squad has seen some major shakeups. The most notable of these shakeups has been the departure of key players such as Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Per Mertesacker from international duty. The departure of such influential players meant Germany had to scramble to fill some gaps, with wobbly haste.
The few matches after the World Cup saw some poor performances and woeful results from a team that was still coming to grips with their future and how they would retain that coveted golden trophy.
In more recent games, however, things have begun to make a little more sense. The squad has begun to look a little more stable. There are some issues, of course, but this new, younger Germany side has got potential – and it is quite exciting. Let’s see what their squad will look like next summer.
No issues in goal
Manuel Neuer has been Germany’s star for years and will continue to be. With him in goal, Germany will have no issues. That being said, his long injury spell has caused the German national team to dig into their goalkeeper war chest. The sweeper keeper is undoubtedly missed, especially with his ability to keep literally anything at bay #NeuerTheWall #NeuerGonnaLetYouGo.
That being said, Kevin Trapp, Bernd Leno and Marc-André ter Stegen all managed to get playing time. Mostly, they proved they are capable of handling the position in international games. All three have been okay, but I think Jogi Löw will opt for ter Stegen as a dependable backup in case Neuer is unable to feature in any of the World Cup games next summer.
Leno has had some spotty moments whereby he has given away the ball dangerously and been unable to clear threats effectively. On the other hand, Trapp has been quite impressive. He made some crucial saves, especially against Germany’s friendly against England recently and may be a good option in the net.
Lahm’s departure left a few worrying questions in defence and a hole in my heart. Luckily, Joshua Kimmich stepped into the right-back role with apparent ease and has been so impressive and dependable. He makes defensive tackles when needed and pushes forward when called upon, too. The right-back position will not be a problem for Germany. This being said, Benedikt Höwedes may also be able to slot into the position as he has proven his worth in the past on numerous occasions.
Most likely, Löw will rely on Jérôme Boateng and Mats Hummels in central defence. Shkodran Mustafi is a good option, and he has been exceptional in the last few friendlies. He will be particularly good at pushing forward and tackling cleanly and effectively.
This leaves the left-back position, which Jonas Hector has been solidly filling in the qualifiers. Löw seems to trust him. Marvin Plattenhardt made his international debut recently – and did okay, but he has a while to go before he can confidently control the left-back position.
Antonio Rüdiger has also featured in defence in a few games but has been a little disastrous, and will likely not be a part of the main lineup.
Midfield and attack
This brings us to the busy midfield. Most often, Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira seem to be paired up, controlling this area of the park. This experienced seems to be a good choice and experience definitely is an asset in a World Cup. That being said, the pair do have off days where they seem quiet and a bit blunt and ineffective. Löw will however most probably go for his favourite pairing of Kroos and Khedira in defensive midfield to favour experience.
In the attacking midfield side, Mesut Özil will definitely make the cut, especially seeing as how he is a timeless assist-provider and will be crucial in Germany’s campaign next year. He has proven he has still got it even though things may be a bit quiet at Arsenal (but that’s a whole other story).
Thomas Müller, Leroy Sané and Julian Draxler will be able to help on the wings and are vicious going forward. Müller is out-of-this-world and will find a way to create a goal out of nothing at all. Sané has proven his sharpness and his speed in attack and will feature heavily next year.
Leon Goretzka could also feature up in attacking midfield, and his astuteness in attacking, crossing and assessing where to be in order to attempt to score is highly valued. Germany will have no problem in this department either.
As for a traditional striker, Germany will either go for the classic Mario Gómez or the new attacking superstar on the block Timo Werner.
It is going to be a solid summer for the World Cup title defenders.