Why Germany Will Be the Most Exciting Team to Watch at World Cup 2014
Germany are top of their 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group with 10 points and look favourites to progress to the final tournament on an automatic basis.
They will enter the latter stage in Brazil as one of the strongest sides in the competition and many will expect a semi-final berth at the minimum.
But Die Mannschaft won't just be a firm contender, they'll also be one of the most exciting to watch.
Joachim Loew is set to continue the phenomenal work he started at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, keeping abreast of modern tactical developments and enthusing his young and hungry side.
Six of the starters that beat England 4-1 in Bloemfontein are now fully ingrained into the side, and Loew has even more fresh talent to pile on top of that.
Loew already has his side playing in a frenetic, entertaining fashion—they press high and recover the ball quickly, every player is mobile and every player is capable of fashioning chances.
The excitement starts with Manuel Neuer, who's a modern sweeper-'keeper capable of pressuring strikers to act earlier than they'd wish, while also coming right out to play as the last line of defence when his side needs a goal.
There's a lot to admire in Philipp Lahm's game, and where he plays depends on who emerges as the go-to option at full-back—could it be Jerome Boateng, Benedikt Howedes or Marcel Schmelzer?
Sami Khedira is quickly becoming one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the world, and at 25 years of age, he's entering his prime as a player. Paired with the reliable Bastian Schweinsteiger, even Italy will be looking enviously at die Mannschaft's midfield core.
The advanced positions will pose a selection conundrum for Loew, such is the multitude of attacking talents on offer. It should keep us guessing in the very same way Euro 2012's striking dilemma did.
With Toni Kroos, Mario Goetze, Lukas Podolski, Marco Reus, Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose and Stefan Kiessling all vying for spots, what will the gaffer do?
He's given us food for thought by professing his alliance to his philosophy, but also to the unexpected (via Reuters):
I have been thinking about it a lot, about dangerous players who can switch positions. If they play with variety you don't have to have a centre forward.
To have this flexibility and variety can surprise the opponents, either as an option to start like that or during the game.
It may be a thing of the future not to have the big, physical strikers but rather those who can move in very tight spaces.
Loew is hinting at the possibility of leaving Kiessling out due to his pure poacher's nature, Gomez might be ruled out as he fits the "big and burly" stereotype, while Klose could be too old to fit the philosophy for 90 minutes.
It opens the way for a hybrid striker or false-nine tactic that B/R's Clark Whitney introduced when predicting his starting XI for the event.
Germany have the players to pull it off in style: The quick interchanging of movement and cute, technical play will make the European powerhouse very easy on the eye in Brazil.
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