With only one game left in the group stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Germany have yet to find a win. While the draw versus Spain was a step in the right direction, former Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick still needs to find a setup that works consistently if he wants to avoid another 2018-esque disaster on his hands.
Good thing for Hansi — Leroy Sane is fit and ready to play. He was the difference-maker when he came on vs Spain and could be the missing piece of the puzzle for the Germans.
We actually talked about this and every other topic in detail during our postgame breakdown of Germany’s 1-1 draw with Spain. Check it out if you want a proper breakdown of the options Hansi Flick has when choosing a lineup for the Costa Rica game. You can listen to it below or on Spotify.
Basically, it’s time for Flick to put Niclas Fullkrug in the starting XI. Playing behind him should be Thomas Muller, though in his press conference the coach indicated that Ilkay Gundogan may reprise his role in attacking midfield from the Spain game. That’s not a great idea, because playing Gundo causes issues elsewhere in the attack.
Jamal Musiala and Leroy Sane are Germany’s best options on the wings, and Serge Gnabry can be the first option off the bench if more firepower is needed.
In midfield, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka are the obvious pairing, and Flick needs to trust them if he wants to get anywhere in this tournament. Any other midfield combo just doesn’t make sense at this stage of the tournament, and it’s not like Hansi has a wealth of midfield options to choose from anyway.
The defense, meanwhile looks sturdier than it did before. Lukas Klostermann is set to start over Thilo Kehrer, though David Raum could reprise his role at left-back. Antonio Rudgier and Niklas Sule seem settled in central defense, so no need to upset that combo. Finally, Manuel Neuer will start between the sticks.
Here’s what the lineup could look like:
Here is what Bild thinks the lineup will be. They’ve been mostly right on the money so far this tournament, so ... prepare for the worst.