Germany head to the Middle East hoping to secure a record-equalling fifth World Cup trophy in Qatar this winter.
Only Brazil have participated in more World Cups, with their last success coming in 2014 when Mario Gotze struck in extra time in the final against Argentina. Die Mannschaft have endured some tough results over the past few years, however, struggling in both their 2018 title defence and Euro 2020.
That said, Hansi Flick has an incredible group of players to work with and stalwarts like Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller will be hoping to get the best out of the outstanding young talent in the squad.
Here’s the lowdown on everything surrounding Germany’s World Cup campaign.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Defenders: Armel Bella-Kotchap (Southampton), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Christian Gunter (Freiburg), Thilo Kehrer (West Ham), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Niklas Sule (Borussia Dortmund)
Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Mario Gotze (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Karim Adeyemi (Borussia Dortmund), Niclas Fullkrug (Werder Bremen), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund)
Flick has had his forward options reduced following injuries to a few key players. Both Timo Werner and Marco Reus were ruled out of contention in the weeks leading up to the tournament.
Teenager Florian Wirtz had also hoped to be fit in time but his recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament injury took just too long and he was left out of the squad.
Leroy Sane suffered a hamstring problem in October but thankfully recovered to be named in the squad.
Neuer’s an intimidating guy / Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/GettyImages
Manuel Neuer may be long in the tooth at 36 years of age, but that makes him no less intimidating for strikers looking to hit shots past his enormous frame.
The sweeper keeper had contrasting tournaments in 2014 and 2018, leading Germany to glory in Brazil before confirming their exit at the group stage four years later by giving the ball away in a 2-0 loss to South Korea.
Bayern’s captain also skippers the national side and a dominant showing will boost Germany’s chances of a healthy run into the knockout stages.
There are few better midfielders – be them defensive, holding, attacking, whatever – in world football than Joshua Kimmich.
Comfortable on the ball, a terrier in defence with an incredible eye for a pass thrown in, Kimmich is the all-round package and he’s yet to boss a major international tournament. It could be his time.
Thomas Muller hates European Championships. He’s never scored in any Euro tournament having broken onto the scene in 2010.
However, Thomas Muller absolutely loves World Cups. No goals came in 2018, but in the previous two combined the Bayern star managed ten strikes, with one of them trigerring the famous 7-1 rout of Brazil in the 2014 semi finals.
He’s a firm starting XI presence again after a few years in exile from Joachim Low’s side.
We could have gone for Manchester City’s Ilkay Gundogan here, but instead we’ve opted for Bayern’s Jamal Musiala who could go big this winter.
The former England youth international has shown his game-changing ability in the Bundesliga and is one of the young stars to look out for in Qatar.
Germany generally operate with a 4-2-3-1 with a familiar spine of Neuer, Antonio Rudiger, Kimmich and Muller running through the middle of the team.
Germany predicted XI: Neuer; Klostermann, Sule, Rudiger, Raum; Gundogan, Kimmich; Musiala, Muller, Sane; Havertz.
Germany responded to their Euro 2020 exit by winning eight games in a row. However, a lack of cutting-edge has seriously harmed their fortunes in 2022, winning only two games and seeing five end in draws.
Germany’s last five results (all competitions)
Germany 1-1 England
Hungary 1-1 Germany
Germany 5-2 Italy
Germany 0-1 Hungary
England 3-3 Germany
With a few players missing through injury and form being particularly hard to come by, it’s hard to get overly excited by their prospects this year
Their last two outings against Hungary and England showcased some bad flaws which Flick won’t have had time to properly mend. While it’s never wise to bet against Germany, it doesn’t look like the ingredients are there for a deep run in Qatar.
However, with Euro 2024 taking place in Germany, Die Mannschaft will want an improved performance here to set them up on home soil.