Germany have gone through a transitional phase since the 2018 World Cup, which they entered as holders only to exit at the group stage following defeats to Mexico and South Korea.
Manager Joachim Low was quick to axe veteran squad members Mats Hummels, Thomas Muller and Jerome Boateng. He has hat to retract his words however, with Muller and Hummels back in the squad for this summer. Low will step down after the tournament to be replaced by Hansi Flick.
Drawn in the toughest group along with World Cup and Euros holders France and Portugal they face a tough task, especially without a recognised striker to lead their line. Nevertheless, they are Germany and can never be written off and after 15 years in charge, Low will be looking to go out on a high.
Group F: GERMANY, France, Portugal, Hungary
Manager: Joachim Low
Odds (PP): 8/1
Recent Tournaments: World Cup 2018 (group stage), Euro 2016 (semi-finals)
FIFA World Ranking: 12th
Joshua Kimmich. Having broken into the Bayern team as a right back, Pep Guardiola saw more in him and turned him into a midfielder. He is now up there with the best in the world in his position, his tactical acumen, positioning, aswell as world class passing range – showcased wonderfully in March’s 3-0 victory over Iceland, have seen him become Germany and Bayern’s main man. He will be central to Germany’s hopes of progressing out of the group of death and into the latter stages of the tournament.
Germany’s 26-man squad is captained by legendary goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who is back to his best after a shaky season or two around the time of the last World Cup. His closest competition for the shirt, Marc-Andre Ter Stegen will miss the tournament through injury and is replaced by Arsenal’s Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp of Frankfurt.
The defence includes Mats Hummels, Niklas Sule, Matthias Ginter, Antonio Rudiger and Leeds Robin Koch – who missed a lot of the season through injury. It is unsure who will start and in what formation, although Low favourite Rudiger impressed in Chelsea’s Champions League win and is likely to start.
Leipzig’s Lukas Klostermann is the only right back named, as Ginter, Rudiger and Emre Can all can fill in there. His clubmate Marcel Halstenberg is named at left back. The inclusion of Freiburg’s Christain Gunter and Atalanta’s Robin Gosens, who both play wing-back for club, suggest Low is considering a back three for the tournament.
The midfield is as strong as ever with Kimmich, Toni Kroos, Leon Goretzka joined by versatile Emre Can and Ilkay Gundogan, who has just had his best season at City to date. Monchengladbach duo Florian Neuhaus and Jonas Hofmann are also included.
18-year-old Jamal Musiala is selected after an impressive breakthrough campaign at Bayern Munich.
There is a recall for Thomas Muller, who could feature in advanced midfield or attack, after two impressive seasons at Bayern.
The attack features just one recognised number nine in Monaco’s Kevin Volland after his impressive tally of 16 goals and 8 assists in Ligue 1 helped Monaco finish 3rd.
Joining him are Chelsea duo Timo Werner, who seems to have left his shooting boots in Leipzig, and Kai Havertz, who’s goal saw Chelsea lift the Champions League for a 2nd time. It is likely Werner could feature out-wide, with Bayern duo Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry the only wingers named in the squad.
One to Watch
Robin Gosens. While most of the spotlight will be on teenage wonder Jamal Musiala, playing at high profile Bayern makes him quite well known. Atalanta’s Robin Gosens often goes under the radar but is right up there with Europe’s best wing-backs, after another brilliant season. His 12 goals and 8 assists, numbers some midfielders and attackers would be proud of, have helped Atalanta secure Champions League football for a third consecutive season. His willing running, surprisingly excellent finishing and ability to pop up in the box make him a danger for opposition. If Low does revert to wing backs this summer, then Gosens is surely one to keep an eye on.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt), Bernd Leno (Arsenal)
Defenders: Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Robin Gosens (Atalanta), Christian Gunter (Freiburg), Marcel Halstenberg (RB Leipzig), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig), Robin Koch (Leeds United), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich)
Midfielders: Emre Can (Borussia Dortmund), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Florian Neuhaus (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich), Kevin Volland (Monaco), Timo Werner (Chelsea), Kai Havertz (Chelsea)