5 things that could help Germany retain the World Cup
Germany coach Joachim Löw has one of the deepest squads in world football, with multiple options for each position and players who give him different options.
The Germans are placed in Group F, with Sweden, Mexico and South Korea the other three teams, which should make progress to the knockout stages a breeze for the champions.
But what are the other factors that can help Germany progress further in the knockout stages and finally win at all? I assess the five things that will be key for Germany in this World Cup:
#1 Manuel Neuer's return to the side
When it was announced that Manuel Neuer fractured his foot in September of last year, many feared that the German captain wouldn't have enough time to recover and make it to the German squad for the World Cup.
But Neuer made a swift recovery after a few setbacks and Löw included him in the squad for the World Cup. The Bayern Munich goalkeeper did not make a single appearance for his club since his return from injury.
The German, though, played for his country in the last two friendly games against Austria and Saudi Arabia. But the intensity and pressure of a World Cup game pale in comparison to friendly games, and even a champion player like Neuer -- perhaps the best sweeper 'keeper out there -- will be tested under the bright lights of a World Cup game.
Neuer is key to Germany and their quest to win back-to-back World Cups, and German fans will hope that he is back to his best in Russia.
Follow Sportskeeda for 2018 World Cup Scores, Latest News & Updates, Match Analysis, Detailed Stats, Fantasy Tips, Controversies, Match Predictions and much more.