Manager Hansi Flick called upon his 26 preferred men to make up the final list for Germany heading to Qatar to play the 2022 FIFA World Cup. After the disappointments in 2018, Die Mannschaft wants to make this edition remarkable with a balanced squad at their disposal. It is also magnificently talented with an average age of 26.7. Germany will be one of the favorites to lift the World Cup this time out to replicate their success in Brazil eight years ago.
Germany are four times World Cup winner, lifting the trophy in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014. Jointly with Italy, no other European nations have managed to win this number of titles in their history. Next to Azzuri and Brazil, Germany are said to be a dominant force in this competition having played in the World Cup during the Nazi rule, the days of West Germany and in the present time as unified Germany. In 1954 captained by Fritz Walter and managed by Sepp Herberger, Germany lifted their first World Cup trophy then known as the Jules Rimet Trophy defeating Hungary 3-2 in an exciting final. The Germans marched on to another final almost a decade after only to be beaten by England at Wembley although they did not have to wait to taste success again which came in 1974. Franz Beckenbauer led the side to victory in this edition as a player and then as a manager in 1990 as a manager in Italy after two successive editions finishing as runners-up. Another run to the final came in 2002 when they were beaten by Brazil but an extra-time dramatic winner from Mario Gotze over Argentina in the 2014 World final handed another title to Die Mannschaft. Germany became the first country to win a World Cup on South American soil with that triumph. They are also the only nation to finish third or better in every decade the tournament has been held, not reaching the quarterfinals in 1938 and 2018 only. Germany only missed two editions in World Cup history, the inaugural edition in 1930 in Uruguay and getting the ban in 1950 for the World War. Lothar Matthaus is the FIFA World Cup's all-time record appearance maker along with Antonio Carbajal and Rafael Marquez from Mexico. He has participated in five FIFA World Cups appearing in 25 matches for his nation. Striker Miroslav Klose is the all-time top goalscorer at FIFA World Cup final tournaments with 16 goals overtaking his country’s legend Gerd Muller with 14 goals and Brazil’s Ronaldo with 15.
Germany had a nightmare title defense in 2018 failing to move out from the group stages for the very first time in the history of the World Cup in its current format. Joachim Low’s men failed to show their usual solidity as in the 2014 edition and became susceptible to opposition counters. It was evident from match one as Hirving Lozano toyed with the German defense on the break to score the only goal of the contest in the 35th minute to hand Mexico a famous win and a shock loss to Die Mannschaft. The holders back then went down in the next game as well with Ola Toivonen but this time had a reply to it with Marco Reus scoring in the 48th minute. Jerome Boateng received his second booking in the 82nd minute and at a time when all odds looked to be against Germany, Toni Kroos popped up with a magical free-kick in the dying embers of the game to secure a much-needed win. Another victory could have ensured Germany’s place in the knockouts but they slumped to a 2-0 loss to South Korea in the final group stage despite creating endless chances to bow out of the competition.
Under Joachim Low, Germany suffered a shock loss to North Macedonia early on in the qualification but managed to turn back under Hansi Flick losing none of the preceding games and finishing top with nine points clear from the playoff spots. Germany scored the second most goals in the qualifying with 36 also recording the biggest win in 15 years with a 9-0 thrashing of Lichtenstein. They conceded just three goals over 10 rounds, only one during Hansi Flick’s charge of the team. Serge Gnabry and Timo Werner were the joint-top scorers with 15 goals for the nation while Leon Goretzka racked up six assists from midfield. Manuel Neuer kept six clean sheets and had a cent per cent saving rate, more than any other keeper in the qualifying.
Preparation for World Cup 2022
After an excellent qualification, Germany had quite a stuttering Nations League games in June and September. They only managed one win and even lost to Hungary at home ending the campaign with a 3-3 draw against England at Wembley. Four consecutive 1-1 draws with the three in the competition did not look convincing to start with. The 5-2 blockbuster win over Italy is the only bright performance the Germans had this year while the only other victory came in March in a 2-0 win over Israel. Germany have a pre-World Cup friendly lined up only days before the tournament against Oman to properly know their status albeit facing a much weaker side in comparison.
Germany 2022 FIFA World Cup Squad:
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)
Defenders: Thilo Kehrer (West Ham), Niklas Sule (Borussia Dortmund), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig), Christian Gunter (SC Freiburg), Armel Bella-Kotchap (Southampton), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund) Matthias Ginter (Freiburg)
Midfielders: Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich) Mario Gotze (Eintracht Frankfurt) Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach), Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich) Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City) Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich) Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich) Karim Adeyemi (Borussia Dortmund) Niclas Fullkrug (Werder Bremen) Youssoufa Moukoko, (Borussia Dortmund)
Coach: Hansi Flick
Several players missed the squad through injuries notably Marco Reus and Timo Werner, both of whom were present in the 2018 World Cup squad. Reus suffered a setback on his ankle injury with his club Borussia Dortmund meaning he misses another major competition for Germany. Werner picked up a ligament injury in the last group-stage game of the Champions League earlier this month ruling him out of the World Cup. In his place, Werder Bremen’s Niclas Fullkrug has been called up having an excellent season with Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga after 10 goals in 14 matches. 17-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko is the youngest talent on show in Qatar going strength by strength in Black and Yellow. He has scored six goals and delivered three assists in eight starts for the club in the German league with his clever runs in-behind and finishing ability. 20-year-old Armel Bella-Kotchap recently earned a call-up to the national side for an excellent start with Southampton. Now he will represent his nation at the World Cup. Flick also added Leroy Sane in the final list after the Bayern Munich man was controversially left out in the 2018 edition. He will like to make a point in Qatar being in sensational form for his club. A big boost for Germany will also be Manuel Neuer getting his fitness back to participate in the tournament after suffering a collarbone injury last month. It will be an emotional moment for Mario Gotze to don the national jersey again, not being the same since his winning strike in the 2014 World Cup final. A positive season with Eintracht Frankfurt has respired his career with Germany after not being in the mix in the 2018 squad. Only he, Thomas Muller, Matthias Ginter and Neuer remain the only recipients of the 2014 World Cup victory.
The strength for Germany is the unit they can become with the best players circling everywhere on the pitch. Hansi Flick’s side wants to achieve the same cohesion that helped them to lift the World Cup trophy several times in the past. Serial winners like Manuel Neuer and his Bayern Munich teammates and future stars like Jamal Muisiala and Youssoufa Moukoko create a great blend of experience and youthfulness in the squad that very few could imagine. Flick also has previous contributions to the national side witnessing the World Cup triumph as assistant coach to Joachim Low. A respectful figure and someone player like to get on board with. This connection between the manager and the players will be a decisive factor in Germany’s success in Qatar.
There are no major weaknesses in the team only doubts over their mentality to get past strong opposition in the knockouts which is not known as this will be the first major tournament for Hansi Flick as head coach of Germany after taking charge last year. The loss to Hungary in the Nations League earlier this year showed the team is not quite the finished product yet which is not ideal before a big contest. The lack of a proper striker has haunted them in previous years and although Moukoko, Fullkrug or even Havertz seems to perform the job in Qatar, this will be a major international competition pressure to handle for the first team at least for the first two.
Star Player: Thomas Muller
There are a number of players who can be the star for Germany at Qatar showing their quality and as for certain seniors their leadership skills. Manuel Neuer is a vocal leader with his huge experience and Joshua Kimmich being a midfield commander could push Germany to unreal heights. But it is a certain Thomas Muller that could make them an opposition not face able to many. Having not had the best of outings in a World Cup tournament in 2018, Muller with few others was exiled from the national team with his return to the patch last year not having an instant impact. However, the 33-year-old is the man of the big occasions having won the golden boot in the 2010 World Cup and guiding his side to glory four years later in Brazil. Even at his age, Muller keeps his brilliance having delivered a jaw-dropping number of goal contributions in the last three seasons for his club and country. He is equally important to the team as any young talent ready to sparkle boasting the qualities only a few players are able to possess. Flick will be wishing to utilize him to the fullest to maximize Germany’s attacking threat in the tournament.
How will Germany line up at the 2022 FIFA World Cup?
Hansi Flick will use his 4-2-3-1 formation that has helped Germany to move away from a back three and be more stable in their approach with an attacking edge to their style. He has two or three good options in each position certainly in the number ten role where Muller, Musiala and Gotze can all play without a drop in quality. Jamal Musiala has been in excellent rhythm for Bayern Munich although Flick could stay with Muller for his experience provided that he shrugs off his hip injury in time for the tournament in a few days. The midfield keeps the perfect balance to the side with Joshua Kimmich and the resurgent Leon Goretzka forming a dangerous player. Another key area for Germany to strike oppositions will be their flanks with Jonas Hoffman and Serge Gnabry on the right and David Raum and Leroy Sane on the left. Despite not being in the best of form for his club Chelsea, Kai Havertz still looks likely to be the choice to begin up front.
Opponents and Fixtures
Germany vs Japan - 23 November 2022, Khalifa International Stadium (6:30 PM)
Spain vs Germany - 28 November 2022, Al Bayt Stadium (12:30 AM)
Costa Rica vs Germany - 2 December 2022, Al Bayt Stadium (12:30 AM)
Germany have been placed in quite a group to overcome with Asian football powerhouse Japan, fellow Europeans Spain and tricky customers Costa Rica. They play them all orderly deciding to take points from others and keeping it less cognitive in the clash against La Roja. The game on the 28th of November will be a clash between two talented squads too. Germany will try to confirm their status in the knockout phase by the time the last group stage game against the North American nation rolls in. Die Mannschaft will try to finish as group winners to assert their authority early in the tournament but they have to face a big hitter in the knockouts anyways.
Stance on Qatar
Germany have made its voices clear about the human rights abuse in the host nation from their qualifying campaign itself wearing shirts displaying messages of solidarity to the migrant workers who have suffered and died due to poor working conditions in Qatar before the game. Calls for boycotting the 2022 FIFA World Cup has been surfacing among fans and banners of the same have been displayed till the last game day before the break for the tournament across leagues in Germany. Even Philip Lahm who captained his side to title success in 2014 will also not travel to Doha citing human rights concerns. The German government has also condemned comments made by Qatar World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman, also a former player, who described homosexuality as "damage in the mind" in an interview. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Qatar and the German team, among others, led by captain Manuel Neuer will wear the ‘One Love’ band to show their protest against the law.
Hansi Flick’s men look to be a superb side to watch at first glance and the failure of the past edition will only drive them to correct things in the recent edition. A good mixture of experience and talent could resurface Germany on the world stage although it is left to see the team’s mentality in crucial stages of the competition. The lack of cutting-edge could still be a factor stumbling in the 2022 World Cup yet this squad has more quality than 2018 one. A semi-final or even a final place will be rewarding for this squad adding more reputation to Flick’s vision for the team.