Germany World Cup Preview & Analysis: Schedule, Roster & Projections
Pictured: Joshua Kimmich.
- 2014 World Cup champions Germany are back in action in Qatar.
- After an early exit in 2018, will they avoid a similar fate here?
- Read on for a full preview of the team, including rosters, projections and tactics.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup has arrived, and Action Network’s staff of soccer experts are here to take you through each and every team that will be participating.
Read on for a full breakdown of Germany ahead of the tournament, and click here for analysis on each of the other 31 teams.
Germany World Cup Preview
Germany head into Qatar with the same high expectations they have anytime they take the pitch, although 2022 will be slightly different for the Germans this go-round. Die Mannschaft need to right the ship after a disappointing cycle in their last two major international tournaments. They finished at the bottom of their group in Russia 2018, finishing with two losses and a -2 goal differential, failing to defend their 2014 World Cup win.
It was the first time they failed to advance out of their group in 80 years. They also failed to advance out of their group in the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League, suffering a 6-0 loss to Spain — the country’s worst defeat since 1931.
That ship is already looking to be righted, though. Germany hired Hansi Flick as Joachim Low’s successor, who stepped down this past summer after 15 years. Flick’s short time with the team has looked promising, as Germany were the first team to clinch a World Cup berth through qualification. They did so via one of the 13 European spots, finishing atop their WCQ group.
|Chances To…||Action Projections||bet365 Odds|
|Win Group Stage||26.82%||+110|
|Advance To Knockout Round||77.10%||-800|
|Win World Cup||3.72%||+1000|
|Odds as of publish. Action projections by Nick Giffen of the Action Predictive Analytics team.|
On top of a coaching change ahead of Qatar, Germany have a revamped roster. They have reinstated Thomas Muller up top, pairing his veteran experience and wits with the young and upcoming Kai Havertz. In midfield, they have nearly all new faces, highlighted by Joshua Kimmich in a centralized position along with Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane, adding creativity and flair on the flanks. All three also play together at Bayern Munich, so chemistry is already intact (Muller plays at Bayern, too).
Germany’s new attack has already shown promise. In WCQ, Die Mannschaft finished second in xG at 32.9 and second in total goals scored at 36. They were also third in big chances created at 37 while controlling an average of 75.7% per match.
Germany’s performance in 2018 is likely just a blip in their World Cup history, as they have reached at least the semifinal in every other World Cup since the turn of the century. However, the Germans were drawn in Group E, along with Spain, Japan and Costa Rica. It is considered the “Group of Death,” and while Germany are big favorites to advance beyond round-robin play, they are not the group favorite. The battle for first is highly significant as the winner of the group will likely play Croatia, while second place will likely be up against Belgium.
Key Player: Leroy Sane
Sane was shockingly left off Germany’s final 23-man squad for Russia 2018, and based on his recent form to start the new season, it seems he is ready for redemption. The 26-year-old has been nothing short of sensational in 2022, scoring nine goals and dishing out three assists during 14 matches in all club competitions.
With Bayern, Sane is constantly rotating his placement on the field between right and left wing and center attacking midfielder. However, for Germany, he is primarily found on the left wing. This allows him to use his pace down the flank to create chances in the box with a driven ball across the goal or attempt to beat his defender off the dribble for a shot.
In WCQ, the lefty finished with four goals and two assists and was tied for first on his team with Joshua Kimmich for chances created per 90 minutes, averaging 2.4.
Sane’s ability to go at defenders and create space with his speed or tactical abilities will cause fits for every defender he is up against. If he remains in good form leading up to the World Cup and throughout, Germany’s chances to win their fifth World Cup increase significantly.
Flick took over for Germany directly after their failure to advance in the Euros 2020 under Low. The decision to take the role surprised some, as he was coaching at Bayern Munich where he had a successful two seasons, winning the treble of Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and the Champions League for only the second time in their history in 2019-20.
He implemented a 4-2-3-1 immediately after taking over and has stuck with it since. Flick has certainly mirrored some of the best practices he used at Bayern with Germany. Hoffenheim’s David Raum plays aggressively in the left back role, reflecting the way Alphonso Davies plays with the Bavarians, while RB Leipzig’s Lukas Klostermann keeps the defensive steadiness and shape on the right for the Germans.
In the two of the 4-2-3-1, Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gündoğan play in a double pivot while Sane, Gnabry and Muller spearhead the attack along with Havertz, who plays the point.
Aside from a few personnel changes, the big difference between Flick and Low is that Flick wants his team pressing and counter-pressing on defense. Germany won possession back 8.7 times per game in the final third in qualifiers, the most in UEFA WCQ play.
Flick also encourages his side to have greater focus playing up the center of the pitch rather than his predecessor, who wanted to build through the wide men. As a result of the shift, Germany averaged 75.7% possession per game in WCQ, just 0.2% fewer than Spain, who lead the region.
Many German fans and analysts believe Flick has what it takes to bring Germany back to the top, and it has been tough not to buy into his tactics, given the results.
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Germany World Cup Schedule
|Japan||8 a.m. ET, Nov. 23|
|Spain||2 p.m. ET, Nov. 27|
|Costa Rica||2 p.m. ET, Dec. 1|
Most Recent World Cup Result
Fourth Place, Group Stage (2018)
You could’ve gotten some crazy odds on Germany finishing last in their 2018 World Cup campaign, but that’s the position they found themselves in. A final match loss to South Korea eliminated Germany from the competition after a loss against Mexico and a draw with Sweden.