Former Bayern Munich and Germany great Lothar Matthäus released his selections for Germany’s starting XI and — for the most part — it seems like things were set up nicely by the 61-year-old:
- Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer, Bayern Munich
- Left-back: David Raum, Hoffenheim
- Center-back: Niklas Süle, Bayern Munich (soon-to-be Borussia Dortmund)
- Center-back: Antonio Rüdiger, Chelsea FC
- Right-back: Thilo Kehrer, Paris Saint-Germain
- Central midfield: Joshua Kimmich, Bayern Munich
- Central midfield: Leon Goretzka, Bayern Munich
- Attacking midfield: Thomas Müller, Bayern Munich
- Left-wing: Leroy Sane, Bayern Munich
- Right-wing: Serge Gnabry, Bayern Munich
- Striker: Kai Havertz, Chelsea FC
At a glance, it appears that Matthäus nailed most of the positions that have been in a competition:
- Raum could eventually be competing with Robin Gosens for the left-back role, but Gosens is currently injured. Raum, while not perfect, seems like a more natural fit as a left-back in Hansi Flick’s back four.
- Süle and Rüdiger are absolutely the top center-back pairing.
- Havertz could be competing with Chelsea FC teammate Timo Werner and it is unclear which player is the leader in the clubhouse at this point.
Matthäus, though, might have had a huge miss:
- Kehrer barely plays for PSG and has been extremely shaky for Germany. Die Mannschaft cannot keep Kehrer as part of the XI.
Some alternatives that Flick could consider to Matthäus’ XI:
- Using Kimmich at right-back and inserting Jamal Musiala into the midfield. I think this needs to happen if a German right-back does not emerge as a clear starter. At the World Cup, you have to roll with your best XI players and make it work. Kimmich’s experience at right-back could be a huge asset.
- Nico Schlotterbeck in at center-back and Süle gets pushed out to right-back. If Flick is reluctant to use Kimmich at right-back this could be an option.
- Revisiting the plan to use Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Jonas Hofmann at right-back.
- Borussia Mönchengladbach’s Matthias Ginter at center-back or right-back for Kehrer.
- Another right-back altogether like Wolfsburg’s Ridle Baku (apparently out of favor) or one of the RB Leipzig duo of Lukas Klostermann (injured) and Benjamin Henrichs (not a clear upgrade over Kehrer).
Some other alternative that Flick might be considering compared to Matthäus’ XI:
- Chelsea’s Timo Werner at striker.
- Havertz to right-wing for Sane.
Tell us your starting XI for Germany in the comments below!