Photo courtesy of Squawka
By: Matt Lisoski
The simple answer is without a question yes. Germany is, in many peoples’ eyes, the favorite of the tournament and I cannot disagree. This team from top to bottom is world-class. If Neuer is healthy, you have maybe the best goalie in the world. Not to mention, even if he is not healthy, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the Barcelona goalie, is not a bad second option. Moving on to the rest of the defense, it does not matter who is in net because the defense Low brought is rock solid. Assuming Germany plays four at the back, Kimmich, Hummels, Boateng, and Hector is going to be the best backline you will see in this tournament.
Moving up the field, the German midfield is going to be very good as well. If it was my choice, I would play Kroos, Goretska, and Ozil. Gundogan had a fantastic season on the Premier League winners, Manchester City, however Goretska is much better defensively and brings a little bit more balance in the midfield. If Low chooses to start Gundogan, it is not a huge deal because of the backline in front of them.
The frontline for Germany will be the key to their success in this tournament. I want to address the Sane snub first. I thought for sure Sane was an automatic in this team, but Low thought differently and there are reasons why he did not take him. The first is that he has not performed well for Germany so far in his young career. The second is he really did not show up in many big games for Manchester City and just about every game you play in the World Cup is a big game. The reason I still do not think it was the right move is because it was between Sane and Julian Brandt. Julian Brandt is a great, young player also, but I really feel that Sane is the better pick in every situation whether Low starts him or brings him off the bench. Now, to address the actual pool of strikers Low brought. I assume Muller and Reus will start and maybe Timo Werner depending on the formation Low plays. Muller and Reus will have a ton of pressure on them to produce. Reus has been injured and just came back for last part of the season, so it will be interesting to see how he plays. Muller did not have a great season compared to his usual form, so this could be the biggest tournament of his career.
My prediction for Germany is winners of the World Cup. For me, I can spot weaknesses in just about every team in this tournament. Germany is not one of those teams. They are strong in every position on the pitch and have the experience and discipline to win this tournament.
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