Germany are desperate to change the horrors of 2018 into jubilation in 2020 starting off against a sparkling Japan team.
Both sides had contrasting fortunes in the tournament four years back with Die Mannschaft surprisingly exiting the group stages while the Blue Samurais almost stunned Denmark in the last 16 but eventually lost 3-2.
GER vs JPN Match Details
Date: Wednesday, 23 September 2022
Time: 16:00 (AST) / 18:30 (IST)
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Qatar
GER vs JPN Match Preview
Manuel Neuer will captain Germany in his third World Cup but he along with many captains of the national team won’t be able to wear the ‘One Love’ armband in protest against the homosexuality laws of the host country because of FIFA’s sanction. It will certainly be his last showpiece and could have been a stage to show a good advert of himself. There is at least the chance for him and Germany to not dampen their status like that of the last edition. Eliminating from the group stages containing Mexico, Sweden and South Korea in 2018 was a hard-on to take for Die Mannschaft as they were the defending champions at that time. Furthermore, they came last in the group. Lack of finishing and poor defending cost them the tournament. Their 2014 winning coach Joachim Low finally left the seat after an underwhelming Nations League and Euro 2020 campaign, handing the place to his assistant for the 2014 edition in Brazil name Hansi Flick. The former Bayern Munich manager flicked the switch and made them more defensively solid with improvement in the attack. Despite a great qualifying campaign, Germany did struggle in the resulting Nations League finished behind Italy and Hungary but over relegated England. However, they have lost only one game under Flick which is encouraging. At the 2022 World Cup with a little bit of momentum in hand, the four-time winners face Japan in the opener and for the first time this tournament. Scheduled to play Spain in the next game, Germany will like to start things off on a positive note. Though, Japan will not make an easy stroll for them either.
Watching Saudi Arabia pulling off a shock win over Argentina, Japan are in the mood to bring more spices from Asia to rattle Germany in the opener. But coach Hajime Moriyasu’s decision to select low-scoring strikers over an in-form Kyogo Furushashi was an eyebrow-raiser. Without a lethal striker in the mix, it could be hard for them to get goals in this difficult group. Although, they have sources in other areas of the pitch to deliver the promise. The Blue Samurais almost ended their thirst for a quarterfinal place in the last edition with two goals up against Belgium inside the 52nd minute. The Red Devils then made an unlikely comeback from there hitting the winner in almost the last kick of the game. It was a heartbreaking moment for Japan who were otherwise sensational. Moriyasu has ranged the quarterfinal bell again with anything less deemed a failure for this talented squad. Having a good blend of experience and youthfulness in the setup, the best-ranked nation from Asia wants to meet their objectives this time around. Paired with 2014 winners Germany, 2010 champions Spain and potential giant killers Costa Rica will all bring a gruelling fight to the Arena that the Blue Samurais have to survive. Their qualification campaign was dizzy at the start but they got into their groove later finishing second behind Saudi Arabia and earning a direct slot in the 2022 World Cup group stages. Recent form though has been a cause of worry with only two wins in last five preparatory games. The 2-1 loss to Canada last week got to show the team have some works to do in the tournament. Starting the opener against Germany whom they have lost all games throws a big pressure on Moriyasu’s men.
GER vs JPN Team News
Leroy Sane will miss Germany’s opener against Japan due to a knee injury. It comes as a big blow but thanks to a wide range of forwards, Die Mannschaft will be able to manage. Niclas Fullkrug could start up front after making a scoring debut for the national team last week with Jamal Musiala operating on the left and Kai Havertz dropping behind the Werder Bremen striker. 17-year-old Youssofo Moukoko is a fascinating talent for Flick to deploy but he will try to ease him into his first major competition for his nation. He is also the youngest player in this edition of the World Cup. Fullkrug has recovered from illness as is the duo of Thomas Muller and Antonio Rudiger. The Real Madrid defender is set to start the game while Muller could get on later in the match. Captain Manuel Neuer will earn his 115th cap for Germany after he too had a scare of missing the World Cup with a shoulder injury.
Japan had a few injury issues heading into the tournament but has been cleared since. Wataru Endo suffered a head injury in the pre-World Cup, Hidemasa Morita struggled with a calf injury and Karou Mitoma has come back from his illness. Takehiro Tomiyasu suffered an injury with Arsenal only a couple of weeks before the World Cup. He is available to slot in the right-back spot in his competition debut. Daichi Kamada has three goals and two assists in seven qualifying games and he starts with Takumi Minamino who had a brilliant qualification campaign with 10 goals in 15 matches. Irrespective of his non-showing at the club level, the 27-year-old remains a consistent performer for the national team. 31-year-old Takuma Asano could get the nod over Daizen Maeda.
GER vs JPN Predicted Lineups
GER: Manuel Neuer; Thilo Kehrer, Niklas Süle, Antonio Rüdiger, David Raum; Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka; Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz, Jamal Musiala; Niclas Fullkrug
JAP: Kawashima; Takehiro Tomiyasu, Maya Yoshida, Hiroki Ito, Yuto Nagatomo; Wataru Endo, Hidemasa Morita; Junya Ito, Daichi Kamada, Takumi Minamino; Takuma Asano
GER vs JPN Dream11 Team Prediction
GK: Neuer (8)
DEF: Tomiyasu (8), Yoshida (9), Rudiger (9), Nagatomo (8.5)
MID: Gnabry (8), Kimmich (9), Kamada (9), Minamino (9)
FW: Havertz (8), Asano (8)
Vice-captain: Joshua Kimmich
Captain: Kai Havertz