Germany World Cup 2014: Team Guide for FIFA Tournament

Clark Whitney@@Mr_BundesligaFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2014

Germany World Cup 2014: Team Guide for FIFA Tournament

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    Sascha Schuermann/Associated Press

    The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil is just over a month away, and Germany coach Joachim Low has already begun making preparations. The Bundestrainer named his 30-man provisional squad on Thursday, and the Mannschaft will play in their first friendly warm-up on Tuesday, May 13.

    The road to Brazil was a long and bumpy one for Germany and one during which the squad dynamic changed substantially.

    B/R is creating guides to all the big teams that will feature in Brazil, with a close look at qualifiers, squads, the managers and key players, team record at previous World Cups and a look ahead to the group stage fixtures. Click "Begin Slideshow" for a detailed profile of Germany as they prepare for this summer's tournament.

Road to the Finals

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    Sascha Schuermann/Associated Press

    Germany had little trouble qualifying from Group C, winning all but one of their fixtures. The exception was a 4-4 draw with Sweden at home, a match in which the Mannschaft saw a four-goal lead erased after half-time.

    The Sweden match should have been a wake-up call for a German side that was rather lackadaisical in defense and only kept five clean sheets during the qualifiers. But in their final qualifier, the Mannschaft went 2-0 down to the Swedes before rallying and winning 5-3.

    Despite their defensive woes, Germany won their group by eight points and with a plus-26 goal difference. Their prolific attack made the difference against Sweden, Austria and Ireland; whether it will be enough against the likes of Spain and Brazil remains uncertain.

    UEFA Qualifying Group C

    TeamPld W GF  GA  GD  Pts
    Republic of Ireland104241617-114
    Faroe Islands10019429-251

    Germany Top Scorers

    Mesut Ozil8
    Marco Reus5
    Mario Gotze4
    Miroslav Klose4
    Thomas Muller4


    September 7, 2012: Germany 3-0 Faroe Islands

    Goals: Gotze (28'), Ozil (54', 72')

    September 11, 2012: Austria 1-2 Germany

    Goals: Reus (44), Zlatko Junuzovic (57'), Ozil (52', penalty)

    October 12, 2012: Republic of Ireland 1-6 Germany

    Goals: Reus (32', 40'), Ozil (55', penalty), Klose (58'), Toni Kroos (61', 83'), Andy Keogh (90+2')

    October 16, 2012: Germany 4-4 Sweden

    Goals: Klose (8', 15'), Per Mertesacker (39'), Ozil (55'), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (62'), Mikael Lustig (64'), Johan Elmander (76'), Rasmus Elm (90+3')

    March 22, 2013: Kazakhstan 0-3 Germany

    Goals: Muller (20', 73'), Gotze (22')

    March 22, 2013: Germany 4-1 Kazakhstan

    Goals: Reus (23', 90'), Gotze (27'), IIkay Gundogan (31'), Heinrich Schmidtgal (46')

    September 6, 2013: Germany 3-0 Austria

    Goals: Klose (33'), Kroos (51'), Muller (88')

    September 10, 2013: Faroe Islands 0-3 Germany

    Goals: Mertesacker (22'), Ozil (74', penalty), Muller (84')

    October 11, 2013: Germany 3-0 Republic of Ireland

    Goals: Sami Khedira (11'), Andre Schurrle (58'), Ozil (90+1')

    October 15, 2013: Sweden 3-5 Germany

    Goals: Tobias Hysen (6', 69'), Alexander Kacaniklic (42'), Ozil (45'), Gotze (52'), Schurrle (57', 66', 76')


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    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press
    Germany World Cup Roster
    GKManuel NeuerBayern Munich
    GKRoman WeidenfellerDortmund
    GKRon-Robert ZielerHannover
    DEFErik DurmDortmund
    DEFJerome BoatengBayern Munich
    DEFKevin GrosskreutzDortmund
    DEFBenedikt HowedesSchalke
    DEFMats HummelsDortmund
    DEFMarcell JansenHamburg
    DEFPhilipp LahmBayern Munich
    DEFPer MertesackerArsenal
    DEFShkodran MustafiSampdoria
    DEFMarcel SchmelzerDortmund
    MIDLars BenderBayer Leverkusen
    MIDJulian DraxlerSchalke
    MIDMatthias GinterFreiburg
    MIDMario GotzeBayern Munich
    MIDLeon GoretzkaSchalke
    MIDAndre HahnAugsburg
    MIDSami KhediraReal Madrid
    MIDToni KroosBayern Munich
    MIDMax MeyerSchalke
    MIDThomas MullerBayern Munich
    MIDMesut OzilArsenal
    MIDLukas PodolskiArsenal
    MIDMarco ReusDortmund
    MIDAndre SchurrleChelsea
    MIDBastian SchweinsteigerBayern Munich
    ATTMiroslav KloseLazio
    ATTKevin VollandHoffenheim

    Click here to see a full, player-by-player guide of Joachim Low's 30-man provisional squad.

Manager Profile: Joachim Low

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    Handout/Getty Images

    Joachim Low has been a part of the Germany national team since 2004, when he joined Jurgen Klinsmann's staff as assistant coach of the Mannschaft following the sacking of Rudi Voller.

    The pair complemented one another exceptionally well, with Klinsmann's charisma and allure as a former top player motivating the players, while Low's tactical nous and fine attention to detail ensured that Germany had all the right mechanics. Unfavored, especially with a young and unproven squad and following their utter capitulation at Euro 2004, Germany turned heads at the 2006 World Cup. Their third-place finish was a testament to the quality of their coaching staff, which laid the foundation of the current team.

    When Klinsmann and the DFB failed to reach an agreement to extend his tenure after his first tournament, Low was promoted to head coach. A philosophical type who when not coaching can often be found sipping a macchiato in picturesque Freiburg, Low brought an emphasis on making the ordinary aspects of football, such as trapping and running, extraordinary. His ability to analyze games and the abilities of players is spectacular, and he prefers to play to the strengths of his team and weaknesses of his opponents rather than adopting a strict, one-plan-fits-all approach to football.

    Since 2006, Low has led Germany to the Euro 2008 final, Euro 2012 semifinal and third place at the 2010 World Cup. The Mannschaft's performance in Low's first two tournaments surprised many, with many young and previously unknown players stepping to the fore in a system that emphasized compact defending and quick, one-touch passing sequences that were a delight to watch.

    But in 2012, Low took criticism for taking an approach that was too high-brow. He shuffled his lineup in both the quarterfinals and semifinals, in neither instance quite getting his formula right. And although Germany beat Greece 4-2 in the first knockout stage, Low's best team since taking the helm in 2006 was defeated 2-1 by an entirely beatable Italy side just days later.

    Once considered a genius and hero of German football, Low's support in the general public is now waning. He still has the unwavering support of the DFB, which extended his contract through 2016. But after so many near-misses and with so many of his star players entering their prime, as Low prepares for the 2014 World Cup, expectations are now higher than ever before.

Star Man: Mesut Ozil

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    Matthias Schrader/Associated Press

    Mesut Ozil made his Germany debut in February of 2009, four months after his 20th birthday. That summer, he led the under-21 DFB team to victory at the European Championship, earning the distinction of Man of the Match in their 4-0 drubbing of England in the final. After the summer tournament victory, he was a permanent starter for Low's senior team in the playmaker role.

    Low's confidence in Ozil grew more and more, and it's safe to say that for the majority of the last five years, he's built his attack around the Schalke academy graduate. Although he's had his ups and downs at Schalke, Werder Bremen, Real Madrid and Arsenal, Ozil has always played his best football for Germany. He starred at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, and has already scored 17 goals and assisted 26 more (per Transfermarkt) in his international career.

    With Ozil the conductor, there always has been an emphasis on interplay between him and the striker, as well as a synergy in the runs of the center forward and the wingers. Ozil is always the first point of attack and always has an abundance of targets to pick out with his devastatingly accurate left foot. He is the brain, the conductor and the magician that moves the ball from midfield to scoring positions. If Germany are to claim World Cup glory in Brazil, Ozil will for sure play a vital role.

One to Watch: Mario Gotze

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    Antonio Calanni/Associated Press

    Low may have built his Germany team around Ozil ever since 2009, but the Arsenal man has some serious competition in the long term in the form of Mario Gotze. The Bayern man was the youngest Germany debutant since Uwe Seeler when he made his debut as an 18-year-old, and Low and many of the big-wigs in German football have long praised him as a future world superstar.

    Gotze's role in the German team isn't as strictly defined as that of Ozil, and he could play in any of four attacking positions, including striker. The 21-year-old has had a frustrating season at Bayern Munich but has come to form in recent weeks and will be hungry to make an impression at the World Cup.

    Gifted with technical ability and playmaking instincts that rival Ozil, plus pace, power and agility to dribble past opponents, Gotze is a complete package in attack, a player who can single-handedly turn a game like none other in Low's squad.

    Gotze also has a knack for scoring in big games, which has earned him serious points with Low. But he didn't play as often as he'd hoped this season, which makes him somewhat of a wild card. If Gotze finds his form for Germany and plays to his full potential, die Mannschaft will be extremely difficult to beat.

World Cup Record

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    Associated Press

    1930 – Did Not Enter

    1934 – Third Place P4 W3 D0 L1 GF11 GA8

    Star Man: Edmund Conen—At the tender age of 19, the Saarbrucken striker took the World Cup by storm. He netted a hat-trick in the final 17 minutes of his first match of the tournament, powering Germany to a 5-2 victory over Belgium. He also scored a fourth goal of the tournament in the third-place match against Austria, his being the winner.

    1938 – First Round P2 W0 D1 L1 GF3 GA5

    Star Man: Wilhelm Hahnemann—The Admira Vienna legend shifted allegiances from his native Austria to Germany in 1938, following the Anschluss that merged the two countries. Having won the Austrian Bundesliga four times and been prolific at club level, much was expected of him. But he only found the net once and Germany were eliminated from the World Cup following a disappointing display.

    1950 – Banned

    1954 – Champions P6 W5 D0 L1 GF25 G14

    Star Man: Fritz Walter—Although West Germany had several prolific scorers in their 1954 World Cup team, Fritz Walter was the driving force behind their success. It was belief and inspiration that resulted in the "Miracle of Bern," the victory of a vastly inferior German team over the Hungary of Ferenc Puskas and Sandor Kocsis. With many thanks to Walter, who to this day is widely remembered as Germany's best-ever captain, the Mannschaft managed to claim their first-ever World Cup title.

    1958 – Fourth Place P6 W2 D2 L2 GF12 GA14

    Star Man: Helmut Rahn—Four years after finding the net four times in the World Cup, including twice in the final, Helmut Rahn picked up where he left off. The striker was on target in each of the group stage matches, as well as the quarter-final and third-place match, ending the tournament with 10 strikes to his name: The same number as a young Pele.

    1962 – Quarter-Final P4 W2 D1 L1 GF4 GA2

    Star Man: Uwe Seeler— West Germany were disappointingly eliminated in the first knockout round of the 1962 World Cup, but not for lack of effort from Uwe Seeler. The Hamburg legend scored in the last two group stage matches.

    1966 – Runners-up P6 W4 D1 L1 GF15 GA6

    Star Man: Franz Beckenbauer—The 1966 World Cup marked the emergence of Franz Beckenbauer as a superstar of world football. Then a midfielder, the man who would later revolutionize defending scored four goals in the tournament, including one in each of the knockout rounds preceding the final.

    1970 – Third Place P6 W5 D0 L1 GF17 GA10

    Star Man: Gerd Muller—Just as Beckenbauer burst onto the scene in 1966, so did Gerd Muller in 1970. The legendary striker netted two hat-tricks in the group stage, an extra-time winner in the quarter-finals and two in extra time against Italy in the "match of the century," the semifinal. Despite his best efforts and a brilliant tally of 10 goals, West Germany were eliminated.

    1974 – Champions P6 W5 D0 L1 GF13 GA4

    Star Man: Gerd Muller—Four years after suffering heartbreak against Italy, Gerd Muller lifted West Germany to victory at the 1974 World Cup. His winner against Poland put West Germany through to the final against the Netherlands, wherein he scored an inventive winner.

    1978 – Second Group Stage P6 W1 D4 L1 GF10 GA5

    Star Man: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge—A young Rummenigge scored two beautiful goals against Mexico in the first group stage and netted the opener against Austria in the second, but it wasn't enough as West Germany were eliminated.

    1982 – Runners-up P7 W3 D2 L2 GF12 GA10

    Star Man: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge—For a second consecutive World Cup, the Bayern forward was his West Germany's go-to man. He scored four goals in the group stage and added a fifth in extra time during the Mannschaft's legendary and controversial win over France following penalty shoot-out.

    1986 – Runners-up P7 W3 D2 L2 GF8 GA7

    Star Man: Rudi Voller—The then-Werder Bremen forward scored against France in the semifinal and pulled back a goal late in the final, but Argentina managed to hold on an deny West Germany a third World Cup trophy.

    1990 – Champions P7 W5 D2 L0 GF15 GA5

    Star Man: Lothar Matthaus—The 1990 World Cup was the tournament that solidified Lothar Matthaus' status in history. He'd been key for Germany in a losing effort four years prior but captained his country to victory in Italy with four goals and a heroic performance in denying Argentina legend Diego Maradona in the final.

    1994 – Quarter-Final P5 W3 D1 L1 GF9 GA7

    Star Man: Jurgen Klinsmann—Future USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann shined at the 1994 World Cup in the United States, scoring four goals in the group stage and a fifth in the round of 16. Only Hristo Stoichkov and Oleg Salenko, who finished with six apiece, were on target more in the tournament than Klinsmann.

    1998 – Quarter-Final P5 W3 D1 L1 GF8 GA6

    Star Man: Oliver Bierhoff—Although Klinsmann was still extremely influential to Germany in 1998, Oliver Bierhoff was more effective. He teed up Klinsmann twice and found the net with the opener against Iran and equalizer against Yugoslavia, as well as the winner against Mexico in the round of 16.

    2002 – Runners-up P7 W5 D1 L1 GF14 GA3

    Star Man: Michael Ballack—The Leverkusen man put Germany on his back as he scored the winners in both the quarter-finals and semi-finals. His suspension in the final was demoralizing for Germany, and in his absence the Mannschaft lost 2-0 to Brazil.

    2006 – Third Place P7 W5 D1 L1 GF14 GA6

    Star Man: Miroslav Klose—Four years after netting five goals in the 2002 World Cup, Klose equaled his previous tally and finished the tournament as top scorer. He most notably nodded home the equalizer in the quarter-final with Argentina, a match Germany won in penalties.

    2010 – Third Place P7 W5 D0 L2 GF16 GA5

    Star Man: Thomas Muller—Just three months after making his Germany debut, Thomas Muller scored the most goals of any under-20 player at the World Cup since Pele. His five strikes and three assists made him top scorer at the tournament, and he was named the best young player.

Group Fixtures

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    Buda Mendes/Getty Images

    Germany vs. Portugal

    June 16, 2014, 13:00 local time

    Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador

    Germany vs. Ghana

    June 21, 2014, 16:00 local time

    Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza

    United States vs. Germany

    June 26, 2014, 13:00 local time

    Arena Pernambuco, Recife

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