With the European club season winding down, players and supporters across the globe already have one eye on the World Cup. Maybe even two. And as preliminary squads are being announced, lots of attention has naturally turned to which German players made the cut for the squad that will try to defend the World Cup trophy.
The showcase in Russia is set to start on June 14 and reigning champions Germany will have ambitions of retaining the crown they won in Brazil four years ago. While Joachim Löw remains in charge of the national side, a handful of influential players from the team that lifted the trophy in Rio de Janeiro have all moved on. Contrasted with four seasons ago, many new faces fill this German roster, while some old faces (e.g. Manuel Neuer) had questions surrounding their appearances.
Despite the squad turnover, the wagering markets are backing Germany as favourites to win the competition in Russia. Even wagering sites from the other end of the world (such as CrownBet), as well as the ones in Asia Pacific countries, show the same support with the European nation investing significantly for this team to triumph.
Löw’s men were dominant in their qualification group to ensure a place at the global showcase, but he faced a major headache before deciding on his provisional 27-man squad for the tournament.
Mario Götze has been left out, despite scoring in extra-time against Argentina in 2014 to give Germany their fourth World Cup success.
Liverpool’s Emre Can has also been omitted, having not played for his club since suffering a back injury during their 5-0 win against Watford in March.
In goal, Manuel Neuer is being given the opportunity to again be Germany’s number one, despite being injured of late for a considerable period, but will have to prove he is up to the task even with no live-game action since autumn or Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen will get the nod.
In defence, Bayern Munich pair Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng look likely to be the starting centre-half pairing, but Antonio Rüdiger will also hope to be in the mix.
Midfield is an area of overwhelming strength in depth, with seasoned campaigners Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos and Mesut Özil all surely commanding a place in the team.
On the flanks, Marco Reus and Thomas Müller are the established options, but Julian Draxler, Leroy Sane and Julian Brandt have the ability to star.
Finally, in attack, Timo Werner and Mario Gomez will hope to lead the line.
Red Bull Leipzig striker Werner is also favoured by the bookmakers, with a high probability that he will be the tournament’s top scorer.
Four players will be cut from the squad before the finals begin.
The first step will be to progress from the group stage, with Germany drawn alongside South Korea, Mexico and Sweden – all of whom are capable sides.
Although Brazil, Spain and France will all have their eyes on football’s top prize, Germany rightly go into the tournament as one of the front-runners.
That would be a massive achievement for this proud football nation.