World Cup 2018: A Study on the strength of the Germans
Deutscher Fussball-Bund: The Germans have always been known to be incredible at football. They may have never had the best ever players to set foot on the planet but together, they are menacing to watch.
No one plays football like the Germans do. They attack, attack and attack. They know no boundaries. They are merciless and fearless. Is it national pride or is is simply just the will to win? Whatever it may be, Die Mannschaft always turn up for the big tournaments.
The current world champions face off against Mexico in their first group game in Group F on Sunday. They have not had a great run up to this World Cup in the last few friendlies but one thing is certain, Mexico will face the heat when they face off against the 4-time World Cup champions.
Group F also features Sweden and South Korea - both should be a breeze for Germany. The World Cup group stages can be a tricky place. One mistake can cost a team dearly and end an entire nation's World Cup dreams. Germany will not want that.
They were immaculate 4 years ago and none can forget that 7-1 victory over a Neymar-less Brazil in Minas Gerais in the semi-final.
The side will face a stiff test as they look to retain their crown and win a record-equaling, 5 World Cup crowns.
A lot has changed in the last 4 years not only for Germany but also for the other sides competing in the biggest football spectacle, in Russia.
Germany 4 years back were definitely the strongest team on paper. This time on, France and Brazil both, look equally strong on paper. Argentina, Spain and Belgium also look extremely threatening. Portugal (current Euro champions), Uruguay, England and Colombia will also be dreaming of going all the way.
France have the most talented side they have probably ever had. They have a nice mix of experience and youth. The French will want to go one step further after failing to win the Euro championships, 2 years ago at home, against Portugal.
Brazil are much better than the team they fielded 4 years back. They have a lethal front line with Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus and Neymar. Chances of a repeat of 7-1 seem impossible this time on, if Germany do face Brazil at some point in the tournament.
Lionel Messi's Argentina will seek revenge for their final loss to the Germans in Rio as the Barcelona man still waits for his first trophy with his national side.
Spain have a point to prove this World Cup after failing miserably by their high standards, 4 years ago in Brazil. Things have become worse after the sacking of coach Julen Lopetegui and it will be interesting to see how La Roja deal with the new appointment of Fernando Hierro at the helm.
Belgium look like one of the best outfits this World Cup and will look to go all the way in Russia. Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku have been in terrific form for the Red Devils and they will look to become a household name at the global stage.
However, having said all of this, one cannot discount the incredible team chemistry and willpower that the Germans share. Joachim Low has made Germany play football in the right way. No matter who is on the pitch, Germany work the same way. They play attacking, direct football with only one aim - Win at all costs.
Nothing matters more to Die Mannschaft than winning. Anything less than being crowned champions is considered failure for them. They set themselves the highest standards and want to prove to the world, time and again, why they are the proudest footballing nation in the world.
Germany have 6 players in their starting XI who featured 4 years back in the final in Brazil, starting this World Cup campaign. The perfect balance of youth and experience is something that the Germans can be very proud of.
Marco Reus, who unfortunately missed out on the World Cup in 2014, as well as the Euro championships in 2016, is finally fit and raring to go. His addition to the national side makes Germany look much stronger. The Borussia Dortmund captain will have a point to prove and will be desperate to win the World Cup in Russia.
Germany may be starting this World Cup without Phillip Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger but Joshua Kimmich and Sami Khedira have proven to be more than worthy replacements for the former Bayern Munich legends.
Germany will also be without Miroslav Klose, all time leading goal scorer in the World Cup. But they do have a man who is chasing that record and will be keen on beating it, as he is all set to participate in his third consecutive World Cup campaign. That man is none other than Thomas Mueller. Mueller has scored 10 goals in just 13 matches for Die Mannschaft and is 6 behind his former German partner, Klose. The golden boot winner in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the runner-up for the award in Brazil, 2014, one would not want to bet against the Raumdeuter turning up and bagging a few goals in this campaign.
If Muller scores in Russia, expect the Germans to guarantee a final spot once again.
Joachim Low's side have one of the best goalkeepers in the form of Manuel Neuer. After a long lay off due to injury, the news of Neuer clearing the fitness test was a huge boost for the Germans. With Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng being the likely centre-back pairing and Joshua Kimmich playing at right back, the Germans will have an almost entirely, Bayern Munich defensive force.
This will definitely be an added advantage as communication between Neuer, the centre-backs and Kimmich will flow naturally as they play for the German champions domestically, together. Jonas Hector will slot in at left back.
The Germany midfield has an abundance of experience. They are all world class players who could break into any side in world football. Toni Kroos, arguably the best central midfielder in the world, will be the key to Germany's World Cup run. He controls the game and is masterful not only on the ball but also off it.
His positional sense is second to none and his passing is something one can truly admire. The East German also has a knack for picking up crucial goals and is always involved in the game. He can go about his job silently shielding the defence as well. There is a reason why he is always one of the first names of the Real Madrid team sheet.
Sami Khedira will be appointed with the role to partner Kroos. Khedira has experience of playing at the highest level for many years now and looks to be at the peak of his career at the moment. His composure is something that will be invaluable to the side.
The central midfield pairing of Kroos and Khedira is likely to be flanked by Marco (Rolls) Reus on the left and the Raumdeuter, Thomas Muller, on the right.
Mesut Ozil, a regular in the German squad, is most likely to start behind the striker, Timo Werner.
Timo Werner is most likely to start up front for the Germans. The young RB Leipzig striker has some big boots to fill and it will be interesting to see if Joachim Loew chooses to adopt a different system from the 4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1 that he is most known to set him, team, up as.
To put into perspective the incredible strength of the mighty Germans - Leroy Sane, who was one of the stars of Manchester City's Premier League dominance, was left out of the World Cup squad because Joachim Low felt that the young star was not ready for the biggest stage yet.
Sane would probably have made any other nation's starting line up in terms of talent and performance but that is how spoiled for choice, the German coach is.
Germany boasts of local talent. The probable first XI is likely to feature 7 players from the German Bundesliga - 5 Bayern Munich players, 1 FC Koln player, 1 Borussia Dortmund player and 1 RB Leipzig player.
Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil are the 3 players likely to start, who play away from home. This is another key reason as to why the Germans work as a cohesive unit. They understand each other's games better than the other countries and play as a team. They enjoy each other's success and leave the other rivalries and issues behind when they come together for the national team.
I would not want to put my money against the World Champions as they get ready to kick off their campaign on 17 June. They enter the tournament as the 1st ranked team and are definitely one of the hot favourites.
The Best never Rest, as they push for their 5th World Cup trophy. Watch out, world! Die Mannschaft are coming!