Road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Germany qualified top of their group by winning all 10 of their matches and were the only team not to drop a point during qualification. In addition, Joachim Loew’s men also jointly set a new scoring record of 43 goals with Belgium for European qualifying. Fifteen of those came in two games against minnows San Marino.
Joachim Loew is perhaps the envy of the world’s coaches with the array of talent at his disposal. Loew did not bring his main squad to the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia and instead decided give some of his younger squad members the chance to gain some experience. Those younger squad members went on to comfortably win the tournament. Therefore, it’s no surprise that whittling Germany’s stars to just a handful of players is no mean feat.
For the World Cup, Loew will undoubtedly bring his star playersthis time to Russia – of which he has plenty. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is one of the world’s best around today and has sterling back-up in Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona and Kevin Trapp of Paris Saint-Germain.
Neuer’s Bayern teammate, Joshua Kimmich, is an immensely strong right back, having stepped into the boots of former captain and great Philipp Lahm and patrolling the right flank from where he provided a total of nine assists in qualification– more than any other player.
The mercurial Toni Kroos of Real Madrid and Arsenal’s majestic Mesut Ozil provide talent in central midfield.
Captain Thomas Mueller may try to beat Miroslav Klose’s World Cup finals scoring record of 16 goals. At this point, Mueller has only 10 goals under his belt, but he still has some time, especially considering that Muller scored five times in both of the last two World Cups.
Joachim Loew has been manager of ‘Die Mannschaft’ for 11 years, presiding over generation after generation of successful German teams. His annus mirabilis undoubtedly came in 2014, when he led Germany to its first world title in 24 years in Brazil. Germany are gearing up for the defense of their title in Russia.
Germany have an impressive track record with the World Cup, winning the tournament four times, level with Italy and behind only Brazil. They won their first title in 1954 as West Germany, beating the ‘Mighty Magyars’ of Hungary, who seemed near invincible at the time, in a match now known as the ‘Miracle of Bern’. In that match, Germany found themselves trailing 2-0 eight minutes into the game but were able to equalize quickly, and then Helmut Rahn scored the game-winning goal with six minutes left.
Twenty years later, West Germany hosted the World Cup, winning on home soil. Helmut Schoen’s team suffered only one defeat, curiously in the group stage to East Germany.
Germany made it a hat-trick of World Cup wins thanks to Andreas Brehme who converted a penalty kick with five minutes left in the final against Argentina and their fourth featured a replica of that final, this time Mario Goetze sealed the victory in extra time in Brazil.