World Cup 2018: 5 key players for Germany in Russia
With just 3 weeks left before the World Cup kicks off, the 2014 winners Germany will be looking to defend their title in Russia. Germany is tipped as one of the hot favorites along with France, Brazil and Spain to lift the trophy in Russia.
The defending champions have started their World Cup preparations in the quiet outskirts of Eppan in Northern Italy, as manager Joachim Low recently announced a 23-man final squad.
The German squad boasts of some of the world's most promising footballers, as they look to replicate the success of 2014. The 58-year-old World Cup winning manager has the luxury of a wide variety of players in different positions, making the selection process even tougher.
The squad has seen some suprise call-ups and exclusions, especially that of Manchester City winger Leroy Sane and 2014 winner Mario Gotze. The young guns in the squad, such as Joshua Kimmich, Timo Werner and Niklas Sule will have some big shoes to fill in retired legends the likes of Philip Lahm, Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Jerome Boateng has stepped up his recovery and has started individual training after he missed the last month of club football due to a hamstring injury, which he picked up during the Champions League semi-final first-leg against Real Madrid.
The 4 time World Champions begin their campaign by facing Mexico on June 17, following it up with a match against Sweden on June 23 and finally ending the group stage against South Korea on June 27.
The Germans started their World Cup preparations with a 2-1 friendly loss against Austria last Saturday and will play against Saudi Arabia on Friday. Low has strictly banned the German players from having sex and using social media during the World Cup.
The 58 year-old, who recently signed a 3-year contract extension with the German national team, will be striving to help his side become the first to win consecutive World Cup titles since Brazil in 1962.
We can look at 5 key players that will help Die Mannschaft lift the World Cup in Russia.
#5 Manuel Neuer
A season-long foot injury had forced the captain Manuel Neuer to remain on the sidelines and in the absence of the Bayern Munich goalkeeper, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen has been quite a revolution for the Germans.
Come the World Cup, Neuer will be striving to regain the number one position between the sticks. The sweeper-keeper played an integral part in Germany winning the World Cup in Brazil, earning him the Golden Glove Award .
With the retirement of Phillip Lahm after the tournament, Neuer has also taken up the responsibility of captaining Low's side.