Will Kai Havertz fire Germany to a famous World Cup win? Youth could count against them – predicted line-up and stats

GERMANY has a younger team than in the last World Cups. The old guard has changed.

In the last tournament, they failed to make it to the Round of 16, finishing behind Sweden, Mexico and South Korea, at the bottom of Group F, so it was probably needed.

Radical changes happened since that disaster, and the new generation has a lot of potential.

They will face Group E in 2022, where Spain is considered the strongest team, and the other opponents will be Costa Rica and Japan. 

After last year’s Euros, Germany replaced their head coach, Joachim Löw.

This much-needed change in leadership will hopefully allow the Germans to continue the success that some of the more recent German coaches have had at the club level. 

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Predicted Starting XI

In Flick’s 15 games in charge, he has mainly used the 4-2-3-1 that he famously used during his successful Bayern Munich stint.

But Germany has also played using a line of 5 in the defence under his spell.

Manuel Neuer will lead his country out on the pitch in goal, as the 36-year-old will look to win his second World Cup.

Germany usually line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation


The goalkeeper is as important in making saves as well as the leader of this team.

Neuer has recently revealed that he underwent three surgeries because of skin cancer on his face, but he’s expected to play for Germany in the upcoming tournament.

In the German back line, Niklas Süle and Antonio Rüdiger are likely to form the defensive duo. 

In the full-back positions, there is a possibility that a more defensive player replaces one of the predicted starters if Germany progress into the later stages. 

The starting XI should feature a packed-up midfield, a solid defence, and a versatile Thomas Müller behind the attackers. 

Müller is likely to begin as the attacking midfielder, sitting just behind the centre forward.

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His experience at past World Cups, as well as his recent performances under the very same manager, give Müller a good chance of retaining his spot.

On the wings, Leroy Sané and Serge Gnabry will both be making their debuts at the World Cup, after being overlooked 4 years ago.

They can contribute with a lot of speed on the wings. 

Leading the line, Kai Havertz is expected to continue his role as the centre forward for Germany.

The striker position has been a problem for Germany since 2014, and actually, during that tournament too.

Klose was called up then almost unexpectedly as that generation didn’t have many options in that position and it is the same now – but, France’s 98 winning team didn’t have a recognised elite striker so who are we to judge?

Attacking phase

Germany tends to try to make the most of their dense and organised midfield, and progress fast through the wings.

Müller is a versatile player and can both help with assists and scoring goals, and the Germans will look to control matches from the start.

Sule drives the ball into Sane who comes inside to receive the pass

The team builds their attack with defenders that can make proactive long passes to the wingers and other midfielders.

Above, we can see Sule driving the ball into Sane who has come inside to receive against Italy.

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Germany like to push players forward in attack

They are also happy to commit numbers forward to pin defences deep.

As we can see above against England, there are five players staggered against the England back line as they look to work the ball around to create a space.

When Germany will face stubborn defences, Joshua Kimmich’s range of passing is an excellent tool to unlock a defence.

Below, we see Kimmich open up to drop a pass in behind the Hungarian backline.

Joshua Kimmich likes to drop balls behind the defensive line

Germany has great midfielders that can make clever passes, but Kimmich is the strongest in this area of the team.

The visual below gives you an idea of how his the conductor of Flick’s orchestra.

Joshua Kimmich holds the key to Germany’s team

Defending phase

As we can see here, Germany is no longer the defensive powerhouse it used to be.

They concede more shots than they would like despite making more recoveries in the final third than many other teams.

Pressing from the front, Germany’s forwards are unlikely to retreat

Germany’s relentless pressure will see them dominate most games, and in doing so, we are unlikely to see them retreat back into defensive blocks for long periods of time.

Above, you can see a scenario that we will see time and time again in Qatar – Germany pressing man for man the moment the opponent takes a backward step.

Transitions

The team can make very quick transitions, and when they recover the ball, it’s show time!

The wingers Sané and Gnabry can be a great threat in this situation given their pace and direct style.

Below, they win the ball back against Italy and immediately there is the intention to release Sane into space.

When they win the ball, Germany immediately look to release Sane

However, the transitions when they lose the ball aren’t the best we’ve seen from a German international team.

The ability to pressure the opponents in the attacking half is their strongest weapon, but they need to watch out when they themselves turn the ball over in that area of the pitch.

Below, Luke Shaw has won the ball and there are only three German defenders behind the ball against three England attackers with one more joining in space from midfield – good teams will punish this.

Germany are at their weakest when they lose the ball because of their high defensive line

Defenders

In the back line, Matthias Ginter, Thilo Kehrer and Nico Schlotterbeck will all be in contention for starting spots, especially when Germany comes up against tough opposition where an extra defender who starts as a full-back will be required. 

Robin Gosens of Inter Milan will be a rotation option for either full-back position.

The German team, however, doesn’t have an experienced defence as they used to have in 2014 when they won their last World Cup.

Midfielders

The midfielders are the strongest weapon of Germany.

The team has experienced names like Müller, Gundogan and Reus. Goretzka may also be a starter in the team.

Modern football is all about quick attacking transitions and Germany has great talent to perform that task – they just need to do it the other way too.

The fact that Bayern Münich also plays with that kind of style can be good for the Germans, as they always contribute to the national team squad with several players.

Attackers

In the front line, Germany arguably has the least quality depth, especially after the injury of Timo Werner in early November.

Lukas Nmecha and Karim Adeyemi are both young players who haven’t had many opportunities with the first-team squad yet. 

They have shown their talent in the Bundesliga, albeit Adeyemi hasn’t found the back of the net at the time of writing.

A lack of depth may cause problems for Germany, should a starting player get injured during the World Cup. 

Some players that aren’t expected to make the squad include Niclas Fullkrug, who has enjoyed a very good start to the season, and could offer a box presence that Germany seems to lack, while Youssofa Moukoko could be a wildcard pick with his dynamic play style that can grow into something special, for the 17-year-old.

Key player

Joshua Kimmich will undoubtedly be one of the players of the tournament, and his performances will be key to how well Germany perform this winter. 

The Bayern Münich player started his career as a right-back but nowadays is a versatile midfielder.

He offers a lot of balance to the team, as he contributes with defensive actions, as well as creating chances and making good passes. 

Tournament prediction

The Germans are in a group with Spain, Japan and Costa Rica. Spain goes into the group as favourites but Germany are clear favourites for second place.

They are expected to qualify for the Round of 16 and have good chances of lifting the World Cup.

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However, if that happens, it won’t be an easy task. If they meet expectations and finish 2nd in Group E, they’ll likely face Belgium in the Round of 16 .

Then possibly Brazil in the quarter-finals which could be one of the most exciting games of the tournament as the Brazilians will want revenge for what happened in 2014.

For even more detailed analysis of all 32 teams in the FIFA World Cup 2022, download your copy of the November Total Football Analysis magazine here

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