Germany
THE ROAD RUSSIA 2017

Joachim Low’s men were peerless in 2014 in Brazil, winning the World Cup for the fourth time. Germany crushed hosts Brazil 7-1 in the semifinal, before defeating Argentina 1-0 in the final.


STAR MAN

While Joachim Low has opted to rest many of Germany’s more established stars this summer, he’s still taking a squad packed with talent to Russia.

Among the standout names is Liverpool midfielder Emre Can. While equally as effective operating as a holding midfielder or a forward runner, Can has enjoyed the chance to press forward more this season, resulting in some impressive strikes – including a stunning overhead kick in May that was a Premier League goal of the season contender.

Still just 23, Can will add to his eight international caps in Russia this summer, and will look to establish himself as one of the more senior players among a youthful squad as Germany look to next year’s World Cup.

Other players to watch out for will be Paris Saint-Germain’s marauding winger Julian Draxler and Bayern Munich starlet Joshua Kimmich.

COACH

After the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Jurgen Klinsmann resigned as head coach and the team was entrusted to Joachim Low. The qualification stage of the 2018 World Cup is already Low’s sixth major tournament campaign at the helm of the national team, and Germany have never failed to qualify on his watch. It was under Low’s guidance that the team won the 2014 World Cup and came third at the 2010 World Cup. As for the Confederations Cup, Low’s men were losing finalists in 2008 and were third in 2012 and 2016.

Germany have faced no problems during the current World Cup qualification campaign, winning five out of five and conceding just one goal. Official confirmation of Germany’s participation at the 2018 World Cup is only a matter of time.

EXPECTATIONS

Germany were drawn in Group B with Chile, Cameroon and Australia, and the Europeans are the heavy favorites among the four. It would be no less than a sensation if the current world champions failed to advance further than the group stage. Germany should make the semifinals, and are unlikely to stop there.