World Cup 2018: 5 Under-23 players who could spearhead Germany’s World Cup defence
Germany have announced their provisional 27-man list for the World Cup and as expected, the team is a mix of youth and experience. While Joachim Loew and his staff opted to name injured Manuel Neuer and Jerome Boateng in the World Cup squad, the abundance of talent meant they were forced to leave out two stars who were responsible for Germany’s extra-time victory in 2014 final – Mario Gotze and Andre Schurrle.
The likes of Phillipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Lukas Podolski have retired from the international scene since the last Mundial and this World Cup is likely to provide an answer to who will be the future pillars for the Die Mannschaft.
Here’s a pick of five Under-23 stars from the list who will be vying for a place in the starting line-up of the German team in Russia.
#5 Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
The 2017-18 campaign was Joshua Kimmich’s coming-of-age season. The boy who looked bewildered when former manager Pep Guardiola said, “You fu*king aced it. You were bloody sensational,” after a title-deciding Der Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund in 2016, has become a mainstay in the Bayern squad, and is already being touted as their future captain.
The former ‘utility player’ has filled the gap left by Philipp Lahm in Bayern with ease, and coach Loew would be expecting Kimmich to do the same for his country at the upcoming World Cup.
The versatile full-back is equally capable of playing the role of a midfield anchor but considering the lack of options in the right side of defence, and with Loew’s preference for dynamic, attacking football, Kimmich will be expected to take up with right-back slot in the German squad.
The 23-year-old racked up 13 assists and five goals in 40 appearances for Bayern Munich in Bundesliga and Champions League this season and will be in peak form heading to the World Cup.