Well, the big crunch game is here, and Joachim Loew has once again proved that he is full of surprises. Here is the lineup that Germany will play against South Korea. Remember, if the Germans lose, then they’re out of the World Cup ...
TEAM NEWS 5 changes for our final group game #DieMannschaft #ZSMMN #KORGER pic.twitter.com/Db4yzbVRLv— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 27, 2018
Let’s tackle the big one first: Sami Khedira is back on the squad! Why this is the case, I cannot explain. Khedira was absolutely terrible against Mexico, and has been in awfule form for club and country for about a year now. Why Loew has chosen to use him now is anyone’s guess. On the positive side, He partners up with Leon Goretzka, whom everone has been clamoring for. The two line up next to each other in the dual pivot, with Toni Kroos ahead of them. This will be ... interesting, to say the least.
Maybe the idea is to have two box-to-box mids to provide better cover for the defense and a better transition from defense to attack? It makes sense in theory, but Khedira’s form is worrying to say the least. He will have to put in a vintage performance to justify this inclusion.
In attack, the German coach has benched Thomas Muller for Mesut Ozil, not something that anyone really expected, but not a shock either. Muller has failed to score or assist at all in this World Cup, and maybe that was enough for Loew to decide to cut him from the lineup. Otherwise, no real upheavals in attack.
In defense, Niklas Sule comes in for the suspended Jerome Boateng, while Mats Hummels slots back into the lineup having recovered form his neck injury. This is a solid pairing, because Hummels and Sule have played together several times for Bayern Munich over the past few months, and they have a great chemistry with each other and with Joshua Kimmich. Jonas Hector on the other hand is an experienced player and will be just fine.
That about wraps it up for the lineup. Follow our live coverage of the game on the gamethread!