World Cup 2018: Germany looks set for a successful title defence
Germany will be looking to be the first team to successfully defend the World Cup. This is a feat that no team has managed since Brazil did it in 1958 and 1962.
However, this is no ordinary team as the current version of the famous German machine looks like it has all the tools required to do the job.
Since that historic win in 2014, a significant number of players have either dropped in form or retired from Die Mannschaft’s setup and a new crop have come in.
Phillip Lahm, Bastien Schweinsteiger, Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski are among the stellar names that have said Auf Wiedersehen (Goodbye) to the national team. Meanwhile, the heroes of the final in 2014; Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle have dropped form badly and have been in and out of the team.
Joachim Löw’s 23-man squad to Russia 2018 has raised a lot of dust particularly the dropping of Manchester City winger Leroy Sané and Bayer Leverkusen goalie Bernd Leno. However, the manager has always emphasized the team ethic over individual performances, an approach that was pivotal in the team winning the World Cup 4 years ago.
Here is a look at the team’s components and its chances at the Mundial:
Few nations have the quality that the Germans have in goal and the dropping of Leno wasn’t as big a shock. However, eyebrows have been raised over the inclusion of PSG’s Kevin Trapp eve after he spent a large portion of the season as deputy to Alphonse Areola.
This has been done because Leno has been disappointing in the games he has been picked for by Germany, a far cry for Trapp who has been decent every time he has been chosen by Löw.
There are no surprises however over the inclusion of captain Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich) despite his long absence due to injury as he is, without doubt, the best goalie in the world and gives the backline a level of confidence that the other goalies cannot muster at this point.
Barcelona number one Marc Andre ter-Stegen had an amazing season and has confirmed his status as one of the world’s top goalies. However, he is expected to be the back-up to Neuer once the tournament starts.