Germany - Team Profile
They’re handy enough at this World Cup lark, only Brazil (five) and Italy (four) have won more
German players (l to r) Mario Götze, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Özil, Julian Draxler and Per Mertesacker on a training ground at St. Leonhard in Passeier, Italy last month. Photograph: Andreas Gebert
Manager: Joachim Löw
Best finish (as West Germany and Germany): Champions (1954, 1974, 1990)
World Cup record: Played 68, Won 41, Drawn 15, Lost 12
They’re handy enough at this World Cup lark. Only Brazil (five) and Italy (four) have won more, no country has more top four finishes (12), and to the list you can throw in four runners-up spots and four third place finishes – including 2010 when they beat Uruguay, having lost by a single goal to eventual champions Spain in the semi-finals. Consistent, then. It’s the dim and distant past of 1990, though, since they last won it.
White board: When they scraped home 6-1 in Dublin that time, their formation might have seemed on the 0-0-10 side, but Joachim Löw generally opts for a more guarded 4-2-3-1. An array of attacking talent to choose from, seven of their forward-minded players got three goals or more in the qualifying campaign. The key, though, is to tighten up at the back.
County Colours – Tipperary: Always there or thereabouts, strutting around like they own the place . . . Oh, wait.
Pundit’s Corner – Paul Merson: “They’ll be deficient, Jeff. It’ll be typical German deficiency.”
Prospects: The bookies have them as third favourites, behind Brazil and Argentina, so hopes are high-ish. They won nine of their 10 games in qualifying, their only dropped points coming in that bizarre 4-4 draw with Sweden, after they’d led 4-0. Sweden also scored three against them in their 3-5 home defeat, all of which prompted Löw to fret over the leakiness of his defence against useful opposition. That could be their problem in a tricky Group G. A shootout with Jürgen Klinsmann’s USA in the final game would be interesting.
Goalkeepers: 1 Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), 12 Ron-Robert Zieler (Hanover 96), 22 Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund).
Defenders: 2 Kevin Grosskreutz (Borussia Dortmund), 3 Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), 4 Benedikt Höwedes (Schalke 04), 5 Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), 15 Erik Durm (Borussia Dortmund), 16 Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), 17 Per Mertesacker (Arsenal, Eng), 20 Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), 21 Shkodran Mustafi (Sampdoria/Ita).
Midfielders: 6 Sami Khedira (Real Madrid, Esp), 7 Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), 8 Mesut Özil (Arsenal, Eng), 9 Andre Schührrle (Chelsea, Eng), 10 Lukas Podolski (Arsenal, Eng), 13 Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich), 14 Julian Draxler (Schalke 04), 18 Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), 19 Mario Götze (Bayern Munich), 23 Christoph Kramer (Borussia Moenchengladbach).
Forwards: 11 Miroslav Klose (Lazio, Ita),
GERMANY (v Portugal): 1 Manuel Neuer; 20 Jerome Boateng, 17 Per Mertesacker, 5 Mats Hummels (21 Shkodran Mustafi, 73 mins), 4 Benedikt Höwedes; 6 Sami Khedira, 16 Philipp Lahm, 18 Toni Kroos; 8 Mesut Özil (9 Andre Schürrle, 63 mins), 13 Thomas Müller (10 Lukas Podolski, 81 mins), 19 Mario Göetze.
GERMANY (v Ghana): 1 Manuel Neuer; 20 Jerome Boateng (21 Shkodran Mustafi, half-time), 17 Per Mertesacker, 5 Mats Hummels, 4 Benedikt Höwedes; 6 Sami Khedira (7 Bastian Schweinsteiger, 70 mins), 16 Philipp Lahm, 18 Toni Kroos; 8 Mesut Özil, 13 Thomas Müller, 19 Mario Göetze (11 Miroslav Klose, 69 mins).
GERMANY (v USA): 1 Manuel Neuer; 20 Jerome Boateng, 17 Per Mertesacker, 5 Mats Hummels, 4 Benedikt Höwedes (yc); 16 Philipp Lahm, 7 Bastian Schweinsteiger (19 Mario Göetze, 76 mins), 18 Toni Kroos; 8 Mesut Özil (9 Andre Schürrle, 89 mins), 13 Thomas Müller, 10 Lukas Podolski (11 Miroslav Klose, half-time).
Those on one yellow card are: Benedikt Höwedes, Phillip Lahm.