Defending champions, Germany go into the FIFA World Cup 2018 as one of the favorites to lift the title. With coach Joachim Leow once again at the helm, Die Mannschaft are well organised machine boasting of several stars in good form. However, not all the superstars from the class of 2014 will be travelling to Russia for the title defence. Former World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm, star striker Miroslav Klose and goalscorer of the finals of 2014- Mario Goetze are some of the big names who will not be a part of the team in 2018. So will the Germans be able to repeat their feat in Russia four years down the line without the valuable experience of their former stars? For that let’s take a look at the squads of 2014 and 2018 and see whether they can emulate the feat of the legendary Brazilian team achieved in 1958 and 1962.
In 2014, Manuel Neuer, Roman Weidenfeller, and Ron-Robert Zieler formed the core group of keeping the goal safe. While Neuer continues to remain the first choice after recovering from an injury scare, the other two keepers are replaced by an able Marc-Andre Ter Stegen and Kevin Trapp. So even if Neuer is injured Leow can rely on Barcelona’s No.1 Ter Stegen who has ample experience of performing on the big stage.
The most noticeable miss from this lot is former defender Philipp Lahm who has more than a 100 international appearances under his belt. His absence and experience will be a massive blow for the Germany team. But Leow has identified Joshua Kimmich as his replacement. Matt Hummels continues to occupy the role of central defender. Along with him Matthias Ginter and Jerome Boateng are the only other surviving defenders from the class of 2014.
Marvin Plattenhardt, Jonas Hector, Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Süle, Antonio Rüdiger are the other defenders to have all been drafted into the 2018 squad. From 2014 squad – Kevin Großkreutz, Benedikt Höwedes, Erik Durm, Per Mertesacker, Shkodran Mustafi have failed to make the cut.
The famed German midfield in 2018 is one of which can strike fear in the hearts of the opposition. From 2014- Sami Khedira, Mesut Özil, Julian Draxler, Toni Kroos continue to maintain their place in the side. But the highly rated Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Götze, Christoph Kramer are out of the team. Instead of them Leon Goretzka, Sebastian Rudy, Ilkay Gündogan, Julian Brandt made the cut.
Now if there is one area where Germany might miss their 2014 heroes then it is the all-important frontline. Miroslav Klose who had made the tournament his own (16 goals) will the one of the biggest misses. His ability to net the ball out of nowhere made him one of the most feared strikers of the game and that is something the Germans will sorely miss. Goalscorer of the finals in 2014- Mario Goetze is another player to miss the bus. Andre Schurrle who provided the assist to Goetze and Lukas Podolski are other missing entities.
In 2018 the burden to score the goals will reset on the shoulders of Timo Werner, Marco Reus, Mario Gomez and the only surviving member from the class of 2014, Thomas Müller. Will they be able to do it? The answer lies on July 15th.