World Cup 2018: 5 Reasons Why Germany Won't Defend Their Title
"Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win." - Gary Lineker
Gary Lineker's famous quote is equally funny as it is true. Defending World Cup champions Germany have been one of the most successful national teams in the history of the sport and, while some nations are happy to win just one major tournament, the Germans have won seven in the past 64 years.
Four years ago, Philipp Lahm became the latest German captain to have the honour of stemming the World Cup trophy into the night sky of Rio de Janeiro, cementing his place among Germany's football greats.
Subsequently, it's unsurprising that Die Mannschaft is once more among the top favourites to retain their trophy in Russia. However, unlike before, the Germans will be facing plenty of new challenges at the WC 2018, as we take a look at five reasons why Germany won't defend their title.
#5 Lack of leadership
Considering Germany's squad has more depth and talent than ever, it may seem a bit bold to say that their chances of winning the tournament are worse than four years ago.
However, while the Germans have gained a lot of quality in some positions, you simply can't ignore the huge amount of experience they have lost since winning in Brazil. Admittedly, players like Timo Werner, Joshua Kimmich and also Niklas Süle will likely be the framework of the German team for years to come, but they aren't at the level of their predecessors, yet.
With Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Miroslav Klose, Germany have not just lost three of their greatest players in recent history, but also the emotional leaders that are so important at the core of the team. This time around, it will be up to Thomas Müller, Jerome Boateng, and Manuel Neuer to lead the team through tough periods.
All three of them have leadership qualities. But in a rejuvenated side, the Bayern players will have to step up to the plate more than ever in their national team careers.
While they were great supporters of the aforementioned leaders in 2014, they will now be the ones having to lead from the front.