Our World Cup Fantasy team previews continue with a look at Germany, who have lost only once in 16 matches under Hansi Flick.
In these country-by-country guides, we’ll be looking at the best players from each nation, taking a stab at predicted line-ups, reviewing the road to Qatar and more.
To do this, we’ll be calling on the help of correspondents from each nation.
All prices given are from the official FIFA World Cup Fantasy game.
THE ROAD TO QUALIFICATION
Transitioning to new coach Hansi Flick after 15 years of Joachim Low was never likely to affect progression to the World Cup, a tournament they’ve never failed to qualify for.
The disastrous 2018 campaign ended with them being the fourth of the last five world champions to follow a triumph up with group-stage elimination.
Euro 2020 wasn’t much better but that knockout defeat to England spurred a run of eight consecutive wins, including 9-0 and 6-0 routs of Liechtenstein and Armenia.
- Most starts: Leroy Sane (9), Joshua Kimmich (8), Leon Goretzka (8)
- Most goals: Ilkay Gundogan (5), Serge Gnabry (5), Timo Werner (5), Leroy Sane (4)
- Most assists: Leon Goretzka (7), Marco Reus (5), Thomas Muller (3)
- Clean sheets: 7 from 10
RECORD SINCE QUALIFYING
Germany haven’t been at their best since qualifying for the World Cup, winning only three games (two against Israel and Oman) and seeing five matches end in draws, which contributed to their third-place finish in Nations League A3.
However, they have been hard to beat, with only one loss against Hungary in September in 16 matches under Flick.
|26 March 2022||Friendly||Germany||2-0||Israel||Havertz, Werner|
|29 March 2022||Friendly||Netherlands||1-1||Germany||Muller|
|4 June 2022||Nations League||Italy||1-1||Germany||Kimmich|
|7 June 2022||Nations League||Germany||1-1||England||Hofmann|
|11 June 2022||Nations League||Hungary||1-1||Germany||Hofmann|
|14 June 2022||Nations League||Germany||5-2||Italy||Kimmich, Gundogan (pen), Muller, Werner x2|
|23 September 2022||Nations League||Germany||0-1||Hungary|
|26 September 2022||Nations League||England||3-3||Germany||Gundogan (pen), Havertz x2|
|16 November 2022||Friendly||Oman||0-1||Germany||Fullkrug|
MOST RECENT INTERNATIONAL LINE-UPS
23/09/2022 – Germany 0-1 Hungary
(4-2-3-1) ter Stegen; Hofmann, Sule, Rudiger, Raum; Kimmich, Gundogan; Gnabry, Muller, Sane; Werner
26/09/2022 – England 3-3 Germany (Gundogan, Havertz x2)
(4-2-3-1) ter Stegen; Kehrer, Sule, Schlotterbeck, Raum; Kimmich, Gundogan; Hofmann, Musiala, Sane; Havertz
16/11/2022 – Oman 0-1 Germany (Fullkrug)
(4-2-3-1) Neuer; Kehrer, Klostermann, Ginter, Raum; Gündogan, Goretzka; Hofmann, Havertz, Sane; Moukoko
HOW FAR WILL THEY GET?
“I expect Germany to finish second in Group E, behind Spain, and thus face the Group F winners (either Belgium/Croatia).
“Considering the ageing and injured Belgium squad, or if it’s Croatia, I expect Germany to win and make the quarter-finals of the World Cup at least.” – Ron Mukherjee
“Germany’s main strength is its midfield duo of Kimmich and Gundogan/Goretzka.
“Also if Neuer is fully fit, Germany has probably the best goalkeeper in terms of experience in the World Cup.” – Ron Mukherjee
“Germany’s main weakness is the right-back area. Flick has experimented with West Ham centre-half Thilo Kehrer, Leipzig centre-back Lukas Klostermann and Monchengladbach winger Jonas Hoffman in recent games.
“Also the strike force of either Kai Havertz, Niclas Fullkrug or Youssoufa Moukoko does not strike fear at opposition’s defences.” – Ron Mukherjee
THE KEY FANTASY TARGETS
Germany have plenty of quality in attack, but will be without the injured Timo Werner in Qatar, who has been Flick’s most prolific forward (eight goals).
However, they are stacked with creative attacking midfielders, like rising star Jamal Musiala ($8.0m). The 19-year-old is making a late push for a place in Germany’s starting XI, with nine goals and seven assists in 14 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern Munich this term. He will certainly be a player to watch out for at the World Cup, with the absence of Werner and Marco Reus cutting down the competition for places just a tad.
“Jamal Musiala has been in brilliant form recently for Bayern. I expect him to have a good World Cup this year. He’s not 100% to start but is a relatively cheap player in the Fantasy game. I expect him to have a big impact at the World Cup.” – Ron Mukherjee
A lack of certainty of starts is a bit off-putting for a number of promising assets.
Kai Havertz ($8.5m) has scored 10 goals in 30 appearances for Germany and could take up a false nine role in the absence of Werner, although there are calls for Niclas Fullkrug ($8.5m) to assume the position.
Serge Gnabry ($9.0m) has gone from strength to strength at Bayern Munich and has played 36 times for Germany, scoring 20 goals. It’s also worth noting that during qualifying, he averaged 3.4 shots per game, more than any other Germany player.
He comes into this tournament off the back for six goals in as many Bundesliga matches for Bayern but it should be noted that Jonas Hoffman ($7.0m) has often started over him on the right flank.
Thomas Muller ($9.5m) meanwhile comes into his fourth World Cup tournament. He failed to score in 2018, but in the previous two combined produced a very impressive 10 goals.
During qualifying, the veteran forward produced three key passes per game on average, comfortably more than any of his colleagues.
Musiala’s rising star makes even Muller a game-time concern, however.
Midfielder Leroy Sane ($9.0m) is perhaps the most assured of a place and started the most games in qualifying, scoring four goals and assisting a further two.
“Leroy Sane is a knockout tournament player – just see his performances in the Champions League over the last two years. He looks much more guaranteed to start over Gnabry on the other side.
“Being left out from the 2018 World Cup, Sane will have a point to prove this time.” – Ron Mukherjee
In the double-pivot, Ilkay Gundogan ($7.5m) is one of the most experienced players in the squad. He has taken two penalties for Germany in 2022 and has a knack for scoring at international level, with 16 goals from 62 caps. He can link defence and attack and be an important player for Flick in Germany if selected, with Leon Goretzka ($7.0m) also pressing for a start.
At the back, Manuel Neuer is yet to be priced up but is undoubtedly still one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He has kept seven clean sheets in the past three World Cups. However, there will be cheaper routes into Germany’s defence, with David Raum ($4.5m) intrugingly priced up and looking likely to start at left-back.
“David Raum had a breakout season at Hoffenhiem last year with three goals and 13 assists in the league. Even Man City were linked with him, before his move to Leipzig.
“A very attacking full-back, and Germany’s games against Costa Rica and Japan should be good for clean sheets.” – Ron Mukherjee
Germany have kept only six clean sheets in 15 games under Flick and allowed goals against Hungary, Italy and England earlier this year, so investment at the back may not be necessary, especially with Spain up in Matchday 2.
Alas, there’s no ‘defender’ classification for the set-piece-taking central midfielder Joshua Kimmich ($7.0m), something that would have made him a must-have in Fantasy squads had it happened.
(4-2-3-1): Neuer, Kehrer, Sule, Rudiger, Raum, Goretzka, Kimmich, Gnabry, Musiala, Sane, Havertz