Germany (Die Mannschaft)

Champions: 4 (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
Runners Up: 4 (1966, 1982, 1986, 2002)
Third Place: 4 (1934, 1970, 2006, 2010)
Fourth Place: 1 (1958)
Quarter Finalists: 3 (1962, 1994, 1998)
Second Round: 1 (1978)
Group Stage: 2 (1938, 2018)
Current FIFA Ranking: 11

Manuel Neuer

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Joshua Kimmich

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Thomas Müller

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Hansi Flick

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Group E Schedule

Game 1 – Wednesday 23rd November 2022


16:00 Qatar Time/13:00 GMT

Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Game 2 – Sunday 27th November 2022


22:00 Qatar Time/19:00 GMT

Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Game 3 – Thursday 1st December 2022​

Costa Rica

22:00 Qatar Time/19:00 GMT

Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Notable Honours


Regarding honours, Germany are the most outstanding European national team of all time. They have won four World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014) and been runners-up a further four times, and hold a joint record (with Spain) of three European Championships (1972, 1980, 1996). They have also won the Summer Olympics Gold Medal (1976) and the Confederations Cup (2017).


The German Football Association (DFB) was formed in 1900. Eight years later, the national team played its first match, a 5-3 defeat to Switzerland. By 1930, the inaugural World Cup was due to be hosted in Uruguay. However, the German FA could not afford to travel by ship to South America so Germany could not enter. They did however enter in 1934, where Italian leader Benito Mussolini was accused of using the tournament as a tool for fascism. However, Germany displayed an early sign of strength in finishing third. They then travelled to France in 1938, still under the control of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich. They were eliminated in their first match by Switzerland, with now legendary coach Sepp Herberger leading the squad. Nazi Germany was the primary antagonist of World War II. As a result, following the intervening twelve years when the World Cup could not be played, the newly formed West Germany were banned from competing in the 1950 tournament in Brazil. Germany have played in every World Cup other than this one and the first, and their status as a national team would increase in the following decades.

The First World Cup Triumph

West Germany participated in Switzerland in 1954, where they experienced their most significant achievement yet, triumphing for the first time. The Germans had been decimated 8-3 in the group by Hungary’s famous Golden Team, consisting of players such as Ferenc Puskas, Nandor Hidegkuti, and Sandor Kocsis. In the knockout stage, defeating Yugoslavia and a handsome victory over Austria set up a second showdown with the Hungarians in the final. Hungary were flying high and overwhelming favourites, having outscored their opponents 17-3 throughout the tournaments, while the Germans had been outscored 9-7. As Hungary were also Olympic champions and had not lost a match for four years, nobody gave the Germans a chance. However, in what has become known as the ‘Miracle of Bern’, West Germany came back from 2-0 down to win the match 3-2, with Helmut Rahn scoring two. Hungary were stunned, and Herberger took much credit for his tactics of lulling them into a false sense of security in the group match. In the final, freeing legendary captain and attacking midfielder Fritz Walter from defensive duties and attacking from the wings also aided their victory. It was the start of Germany’s now glorious footballing history. More importantly, it also created a sense of unity in a divided post-war nation.

A Disappointing Defence

Herberger remained in his post in 1958, and hotshot young striker Uwe Seeler had emerged. As defending champions, the Germans first defeated future rivals Argentina before drawing with Czechoslovakia and Northern Ireland. They then dispatched Yugoslavia 1-0 but endured a 3-2 loss to hosts Sweden in Gothenburg in the semi-final. They subsequently finished fourth, but Rahn and Seeler scored six and two goals in a high-scoring tournament. At the same time, defensive midfielder Horst Szymaniak was named part of the all-star team. Still, it had been a disappointing defence of their trophy. After not entering the inaugural European Nations’ Cup in 1960 (and not playing in its two subsequent editions), the Germans travelled to the 1962 World Cup. However, Chile proved disappointing, being eliminated in the quarter-finals by Yugoslavia.

The Introduction of Professionalism: England ’66

There was a feeling that something had to change, so German football became a professional pursuit with the formation of the Bundesliga in 1963. It had previously been mostly amateur. If German football had been decent before, it would get even better. Indeed, Helmut Schon became coach in 1964, and West Germany were confident in travelling to rivals England, who were hosting the 1966 edition. Their squad consisted of Seeler as captain and such young players as goalkeeper Sepp Maier and midfielder Wolfgang Overath. However, it was 20-year-old midfielder Franz Beckenbauer who shone brightest.
At the tournament, West Germany first successfully navigated their group. Victories over Uruguay and the Soviet Union followed to set up a grudge match with the English at Wembley Stadium in the showpiece final. After West Germany made the match 2-2 in the last few minutes, it went to extra time. The linesman then adjudged English forward Geoff Hurst’s strike to have crossed the line after hitting the underside of the bar. There is still much debate over whether the ball did cross the line. However, as the Germans pushed, England made it 4-2 with Hurst’s hat-trick goal in the final minute of extra time to win the trophy. Hurst remains the only man to score three goals in a World Cup Final. This defeat remains a bitter regret in German society. However, Beckenbauer had scored four goals in the tournament and was named part of the all-star team, a sign of things to come.

Mexico ’70

West Germany returned to the World Cup four years later in Mexico. Electric young striker Gerd Müller took the tournament by storm, scoring ten goals, including hat-tricks versus Bulgaria and Peru in the group stage to win the Golden Boot. Beckenbauer was also maturing, and his intelligence, playmaking, and tactical quality allied with Müller’s pace, finishing, and predatory instincts, made West Germany a formidable force. In the quarter-final, they were 2-0 down to old adversaries England but came back to win 3-2 after extra time, exacting their revenge for 1966. In the semi-final against other foes, Italy, West Germany equalised in the dying minutes after trailing most of the game. In extra time, the pendulum swung back and forth. Five goals were scored, two by West Germany to Italy’s three. The Germans were out. However, the match had been dubbed the Game of the Century; such was its quality and entertainment value. It was clear that the West Germany of Beckenbauer and Müller meant business. Beckenbauer was named captain in 1971, leading his country to their first triumph European Championship triumph in 1972.

The Second World Title

The nation was to host the World Cup in 1974. They passed the group stage with fresh blood, including Paul Breitner and Gunter Netzer. However, they had been defeated 1-0 by the talented but less illustrious East Germans in a politically charged match. They successfully traversed the second round to set up a final with the high-flying Netherlands. The Dutch were led by coach Rinus Michels and star playmaker Johan Cruyff and played a style of the game known as ‘Total Football’, where players fluidly interchanged positions. This approach was an evolution of the great Hungarian Golden Team of twenty years previously. Perhaps fittingly, West Germany defeated the Dutch after coming back from behind, as they had two decades previously against the Magical Magyars. The Germans had won their second World Cup, once more against a more fancied nation, thanks to a penalty from Breitner and a close-range finish from Müller. Müller retired from international duty that year and is second on the all-time goalscorer list for Germany, with a ridiculous 68 goals in 62 appearances giving him a ratio of 1.1 per game. He remains one of the greatest goalscorers of all time. Captain Beckenbauer, having reinvented himself and the role of sweeper (or libero), also participated in his final World Cup and is now known as one of the greatest players ever.

Disappointments: ’76 to ’82

The Germans suffered their only penalty shootout defeat in the next tournament, losing in the final of Euro 1976 to the now famous and widely copied Antonin Panenka chip. As defending champions, they could not make an impression in Argentina in 1978, being eliminated in the second round. They did, though, win the European Championship for the second time in three attempts in 1980, and confidence was high entering Spain in 1982. They possessed a talented new team, including enigmatic goalkeeper Toni Schumacher (still remembered for his assault on French player Patrick Battiston in this tournament) and technical forward and captain Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. However, Algeria shocked them by defeating them in their first game. Victories over Chile and Austria followed, though, with the latter now known as the ‘Disgrace of Gijon’, as both nations were accused of collusion and conspiring to eliminate the Algerians for their own benefit. Despite this controversy, they successfully negotiated the second round before beating France on penalties in the semi-final. Due to its constant back and forth, entertaining football, and four goals in extra-time, this match is considered one of the greatest games of all time, akin to the game versus Italy twelve years previously. A defeat to the Italians in the final followed. However, Rummenigge won the Bronze Ball, and Breitner became only the third player at that point to score in two World Cup Finals. The others had been Brazil’s Vava and Pele.

Hurt Then Ecstasy: Mexico ’86 and Italia ’90

After a disappointing group stage elimination at Euro 1984, West Germany entered Mexico in 1986 with high hopes, with Rummenigge, Rudi Voller, and Lothar Matthaus as lynchpins of the team. Matthaus is one of the greatest midfielders of all time, known for his technique, passing, work rate, and shooting. He is a legend, having played in five World Cups and more matches in the competition’s history than anyone else (25). They reached their second successive final, but they came undone by a Diego Maradona masterclass. Maradona was the greatest player in the world, had been brilliant all tournament, and he set away Jorge Burrachaga with a sublime pass to score the winner in the 83rd minute. The Germans next hosted Euro 1988 but lost in the semi-final against a tremendous Netherlands side that would go on to lift the trophy. Italia ’90 was a tournament known for its defensive football. However, West Germany took revenge on Maradona and Argentina by winning their third world title in their third consecutive final. Beckenbauer became the first person to captain and manage a world-champion team. Matthaus had starred throughout the tournament playing alongside legends such as Bodo Illgner, Andreas Brehme, Jurgen Kohler, Andy Moller, Jurgen Klinsmann, and Thomas Hassler. He subsequently placed second in the Golden Ball to Italy’s Toto Schillaci.

Declines and Resurgences

A surprise defeat to Denmark in the final of Euro 1992 followed, in the nation’s first tournament as a reunified Germany, as did a triumph at Euro 1996 in England thanks to a trademark Oliver Bierhoff header. However, the next two World Cups were poor by Germany’s standards. They were eliminated in the quarter-finals in both USA ’94 and France ’98. They did make the final in 2002, but were easily dispatched by Brazil. However, group-stage eliminations surrounded this at the Euros of 2000 and 2004. Clearly, something had to change, and Germany restructured to place more emphasis on youth development. As hosts in 2006 with Klinsmann as the coach, they made the semi-finals, thanks to a new team consisting of players such as Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Joachim Low then took over as coach. Euro 2008 saw a loss to Spain in the final, and then a defeat by the same nation in the semi-final of South Africa 2010 showed promise. A failure in the semi-final to eternal rivals Italy followed in 2012. Germany were showing signs of recovery. However, it was in 2014 that the new generation came alive. They played brilliant football to win the World Cup, including the now-famous 7-1 destruction of favourites Brazil on Brazil’s previously formidable home soil. Veteran Miroslav Klose became the World Cup all-time top goalscorer in that match. Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Müller, and Mario Gotze (who scored the winner in the final against Argentina) represented a new golden generation. They were predicted by the media to reign for years. However, it has not quite transpired as they had hoped. A disappointing loss to France in the semi-final of Euro 2016 was followed by succumbing to the champions’ curse in 2018. They were eliminated in the group stage in the edition immediately following their triumph, as France, Italy, and Spain had been in years prior. Elimination by foes England at Euro 2020 followed after a massive miss by Müller.

Germany’s Identity and Legacy

In international football’s past, perhaps only Brazil have a more illustrious history than Germany, and even that is debatable. For much of the previous seventy years, the Germans have been relentless, winning tournament after tournament and generally coming very close even when they do not. German footballers tend to be less flashy, flamboyant, and individual on the pitch than those of other nations. They do not have any candidates for the greatest player of all time, except perhaps Franz Beckenbauer. However, Germans are steeped in characteristics like organisation, technical soundness, tactical intelligence, maximising potential, and, perhaps above all else, mental strength. The latter is epitomised by the fact that Germany have won their last six penalty shootouts at international tournaments. Indeed, they have scored an incredible eighteen from nineteen penalties in their four World Cup shootouts. It is clear that German players are mentally resolute, and the national team is as capable as the country itself. Presently, Germany are not the team they were, and some believe they are in decline. However, they still retain that uncanny and priceless ability to come alive at any tournament and get the job done regardless of form or ability. They hope they can repeat the past and go all the way in Qatar, but being in the same group as Spain represents an early challenge. You know what they say though – never write off the Germans.

Road to Qualification

UEFA Group J: 1st
Record: Played:10  W:9  D:0  L:1  F:36  A:4  GD:+32  Points:27
Date of Qualification: 11th October 2021

Very comfortable for Germany, with the only blemish being a shock 2-1 loss at home in Duisburg to North Macedonia on matchday three. They kept seven clean sheets in ten games, including home annihilations of Iceland (3-0), Armenia (6-0), and minnows Liechtenstein (9-0). Romania were the sixth team in the group. Qualification had been a formality, and they were the first team to qualify (other than hosts Qatar who qualified automatically) with a month to spare. Thirty-six goals scored was the second highest for any European team in qualification, only England registered more with 39. The debate will rage on over whether smaller nations such as Armenia and Liechtenstein should compete alongside heavyweights like Germany in qualification or if there should be a pre-qualifying process. However, for the moment, the Germans and other top nations generally ease through the UEFA segment of qualifying. Serge Gnabry, Ilkay Gundogan, and Timo Werner all scored five goals each in qualification, whilst Leroy Sane scored four. The group doesn’t tell us much about Germany’s prospects in the tournament proper, but they will hope to keep their scoring boots on.

Meet the Coach: Hansi Flick (age 57)

Flick was a midfielder who started his senior career at SV Sandhausen in 1983. He joined Bayern Munich in 1985. where he won four Bundesliga titles in five years. He also participated in the 1987 European Cup Final, which Bayern lost 2-1 to Porto. He then played for Koln from 1990 to 1993, when he retired due to injury. However, he did have a spell playing amateur with Victoria Bammental. He was player-coach of Bammental between 1996 and 2000, but they suffered relegation in 1999, and he left a year later. He next had a spell managing 1899 Hoffenheim from 2000 to 2005. He got his big break when he was appointed assistant manager to legendary Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni at Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg. Indeed, Flick credits Trapattoni with improving his tactical acumen. He then worked under Joachim Low as Germany’s assistant manager between 2006 and 2014, culminating in the triumph in Brazil. Following this, he became the sporting director at the German Football Association for a few years.

Flick’s breakthrough as a manager came at the age of 54, unexpectedly. He was appointed assistant to Croatian Nico Kovac at Bayern in July 2019. Subsequently, he was put in an interim managerial position the following November after Kovac left the club due to an unsatisfying start to the season. Flick did well and was named coach for the rest of the season in December. He subsequently led Bayern to their second Continental Treble and he was named German Manager of the Year and UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year. Bayern completed the sextuple under his tenure the following season. However, he voiced his desire to coach Germany, and at the end of 2021, he left Bayern after a highly successful spell where he had an 83 percent win record and they had scored an average of three goals per game across all competitions. He had solidified himself as an elite coach. He was now ready to tackle the German job Joachim Low had vacated after fifteen years. He began his stint in August 2021, and as mentioned above, he guided the team efficiently through the remainder of qualifying. However, a disappointing 2022-2023 Nations League campaign where Germany finished third in their group has taken the gloss off his start as national coach. The party travel to Qatar wounded from the 2018 debacle but hoping to perform as is expected of most German teams and go all the way.

Possible Starting XI and Style of Play

Germany will likely continue playing a more controlled possession game, as they have in recent years following spells of more pragmatic football. In goal, Manuel Neuer should start. Some have said he is in decline, but he remains an excellent goalkeeper. Still, Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Kevin Trapp represent competent backups. Germany can play three at the back or four, and while not as overtly dominant on the ball as Spain, they are one of the more ball-retention-focused teams at the tournament. However, they can also spring into counter-attack at any moment, with fast, creative, tricky players such as Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, and Jamal Musiala at their disposal. Jonas Hofmann is also a good option as a utility player with an excellent passing range. The fullbacks will also be expected to provide an attacking impetus, with the forward thrust of David Raum especially exciting. There is also strength in depth at centre-back, with the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule, Thilo Kehrer, and Nico Schlotterbeck vying for a starting berth. 

In midfield, the international retirement of the legendary Toni Kroos was a blow. However, Ilkay Gundogan and Joshua Kimmich are trustworthy, experienced stalwarts who can keep the ball all day. The talented Leon Goretzka may start if Flick wants to bolster his midfield. Other players who might be selected include the likes of playmaker Kai Havertz and forward Karim Adeyemi. Thomas Muller remains a presence; his experience and leadership qualities are vital for Flick. The likes of Gnabry and Adeyemi might be unleashed from the bench when teams are tiring, and Musiala might be trusted to start in a creation-heavy midfield. Expect to see a German team that is compact and balanced but also aims to entertain.

Squad List


Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp

Defenders: Matthias Ginter, Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule, Nico Schlotterbeck, Thilo Kehrer, David Raum, Lukas Klostermann, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Christian Gunter

Midfielders: Ilkay Gundogan, Jonas Hofmann, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala, Joshua Kimmich, Thomas Muller, Julian Brandt, Mario Gotze

Forwards: Kai Havertz, Youssoufa Moukoko, Niclas Fullkrug, Karim Adeyemi

Key Players







Manuel Neuer

Date and Place of Birth: (27.03.1986 Gelsenkirchen)
Current Club: Bayern Munich
Caps/Goals: 113/0

A towering figure, Neuer is considered by many to be one of, if not the most outstanding goalkeeper of all time. He is in the twilight of his career; however, he remains a formidable adversary for any opposing attacker wishing to score against Germany. Neuer boasts excellent shot-stopping skills, impressive reading of the game, brilliant distribution with his hands and feet, and intimidating presence and command of his box. Indeed, he is the complete modern sweeper-keeper. Neuer also possesses many individual and collective honours, including the Golden Glove of the 2014 tournament, ten Bundesliga titles, and two Champions League trophies. He will look to add more gloss to his glittering career in Qatar.

Joshua Kimmich

Date and Place of Birth: (08.02.1995, Rottweil)
Current Club: Bayern Munich
Caps/Goals: 70/5

Kimmich is a brilliant, intelligent, and technical central midfielder who is also defensively and tactically sound. Furthermore, his vision, passing, cool head, and versatility will be paramount for Flick in Qatar. Aesthetically and functionally, he has always resembled his predecessor Philipp Lahm, being favourably compared to Lahm regularly. Kimmich has had some off-the-pitch problems recently, such as drawing criticism for contracting COVID-19 following his anti-vaccination stance. However, there is little doubt that he is one of Flick’s leaders. He will run games in Qatar from that midfield position.

Thomas Müller

Date and Place of Birth: (13.09.1989 Weilhem in Oberbayern)
Current Club: Bayern Munich
Caps/Goals: 118/44

Completing a Bayern clean sweep in our list, Müller, like Neuer, has aged. However, he is still highly dependable, somewhat underrated, and overlooked. Very tactically astute in the style of a traditional German, he has never really received the credit he deserves from those who prefer what is construed as a more aesthetic play style than he is said to possess. However, what he may lack in flashiness, he more than makes up for in substance, listing excellent movement, technique, experience, and mental strength among his attributes. He is also a reliable goalscorer, accumulating 44 for the national team. Like Neuer and Kimmich, he will be expected to be an example to the youngest members of the squad. His prankster attitude around the dressing room will also be invaluable in maintaining high spirits.

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