After Friday’s draw with Spain, German guru Joachim Löw decided to alter his plans for the rest on the international break. Already without Emre Can due to a back ailment, Löw dispatched Thomas Müller and Mesut Ozil to their home clubs for additional rest, while Sebastian Rudy returned to the squad after the birth of his son.
Training ahead of #GERBRA has begun for #DieMannschaft pic.twitter.com/O5S81KOEEM— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) March 26, 2018
All of that may add up to a lineup that more closely resembles the 2017 Confederations Cup unit than the lineup that will start the World Cup this summer. Despite the fact that this is highly unpredictable, we asked our writers to put their sterling reputations and pride on the LINE. Okay, not really, but it’s still fun to take a run at trying to read Löw’s mind.
I will preface this by saying, this is NOT the lineup I would roll out against a Brazil side that will undoubtedly be out for blood (even in a friendly!). Löw could go about a million different ways with his combinations, so I am trying to read his mind with this. Müller and Özil are already home and resting, and I am guessing the lineup will be heavy on the youth. With Sebastian Rudy home on Friday for the birth of his son and Sami Khedira looking sketchy against Spain, I think Rudy will get some Jogi love with a start. In addition, I think Hummels and Kroos will rest and we will also see Matthias Ginter, Julian Brandt, Niklas Süle, and Sandro Wagner as substitutes at some point.
In the press conference previous to the clash against Brazil, Löw stated that a number of changes would be made. Marc-André ter Stegen will be rested, with Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp playing a half each. Furthermore, İlkay Gündoğan, Leroy Sané, and Marvin Plattenhardt will start against their South American counterparts. With Müller, Özil, and Can ruled out, Löw will look to the abundance of German talent at his disposal. It’s likely that we will see a number of younger players either starting or making a difference by being brought on as a substitute. After all, the German boss has the difficult decision of who to take to the World Cup. With that in mind, Germany will field a mixture of youth and experience against Brazil.
John N. Dillon
Löw has promised Trapp and Leno a half each, so we’ll see who goes first. On defense, Plattenhardt steps in for Jonas Hector and Süle for Mats Hummels. I think Süle is a lock to make the team as backup center-back, whereas Ginter is perhaps less likely. In the double-pivot, I assume Sami Khedira sits this match out rather than senselessly risk injury. Gündoğan and Kroos seem like an interesting pairing on paper, although if Löw really wants a purely defensively midfielder, he might give Rudy a chance. On offense, I’d like to see what Goretzka can do on the 10 spot. Sané plays on the left, Brandt takes the right, and Sandro Wagner can have a start at forward, having sat out Germany’s game against Spain.
Who starts in goal is a toss up between Bernd Leno and Trapp, as both are set to play a half versus Brazil. Kimmich has been a constant starter since the Euro 2016, and I don’t think he’s looking at anyone else for that right-back spot. I think Boateng will be paired with Rüdiger because I just don’t see Löw playing the same two centerbacks in two consecutive friendlies. Since Löw has already said that Boateng will captain the side if Khedira can’t play, I’m assuming Boateng will definitely play alongside Rudiger. I don’t think Khedira is going to play, as there’s no point in risking further injury, so I think Kroos will be paired with Gündogan as that’s a real, viable double pivot option for the World Cup that Löw will want to test out against a very good opponent. Löw has already said that Sane will play, and with Müller and Ozil already ruled out for tomorrow’s game, there really aren’t many options left. It basically comes down to Draxler, Brandt, Goretzka, and Lars Stindl for two of the 3 spots behind the striker. Löw seems to really value Draxler so I think he stays in the lineup. Out on the right side, Brandt is the only true winger, so I think he’ll get the nod there. Up front I see Timo Werner starting again, as his pace combined with the speed of the 3 players directly behind him could lead to some beautiful counter-attacking play.
How do you think Löw will line up the team for Germany-Brazil? Tell us below!