Germany vs Japan Prediction

23rd November 2022
16:00 Qatar Time/13:00 GMT
Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Current Form (Last Five Matches):



1-0 (A)


3-3 (A)


1-0 (H)


5-2 (H)


1-1 (A)








2-1 (N)


0-0 (N)


2-0 (N)

South Korea

3-0 (H)


0-0 (H)






World Cup Head-to-Head Record



Other H2H: Played: 2  Germany Wins: 1   Draws:1

Germany vs Japan Prediction Match Overview


In the first game of Group E, Europeans Germany take on the Asian nation Japan in Al Rayyan. The match will be a 16:00 kick-off Qatar time. Germany are ranked 11th in the world, and Japan are 24th.

Germany come into the match in mixed form following a disappointing Nations League campaign. They finished third in Group 3 of League A. Picking up one point from six against Hungary was particularly frustrating. They had high-scoring games with England and Italy, drawing 3-3 with the former at Wembley and defeating the Italians 5-2 in Monchengladbach. They have been both scoring and conceding goals and will hope to do better in the World Cup.

Japan also enter the World Cup in mixed form, having scored only six goals in their previous five games. However, they only conceded two, and their coach Hajime Moriyasu clearly prizes defensive solidity. Victories over the USA and South Korea, and a draw with Ecuador, are promising. However, the encounter with Germany represents a much stiffer challenge.

Injuries and Suspensions


Will not play: Sane (Germany)

Might not play: Klostermann, Rudiger, Muller, and Fullkrug (Germany);  Tomiyasu, Endo, Morita, Mitoma (Japan)

Possible Lineups

Germany vs Japan Prediction Analysis


Both teams will likely play a 4-2-3-1/-4-3-3 formation in this match. The Germans are likely to have the majority of the ball. Indeed, Germany may use a false 9 in attack through Kai Havertz (Thomas Muller is also an option). Havertz can drop deeper and link play with Jamal Musiala, Ilkay Gundogan and Joshua Kimmich in midfield. Lukas Klostermann may not make it at right-back. If not, Thilo Keher will probably play there. Kehrer is primarily a centre-back, but he can act as a utility man and play at full-back. However, it is a less natural fit for him than for David Raum at left-back. Raum has been preferred in the squad to Robin Gosens, so coach Hansi Flick likes him. It will be up to Raum to get forward at every opportunity, attempting to support the attack and overlap the flying winger Serge Gnabry down the left-hand side. This flank is a potentially very lucrative avenue for the Germans to exploit. However, Gundogan and Kimmich will have to cover Raum when he goes forward. Takehiro Tomiyashu, if he starts at right-back, may well be pinned back for much of the match and unable to get forward. However, on the occasions he can get forward, he must link with the Japanese right-winger (likely Ritsu Doan or Junya Ito) to try to get in behind the German defence. Indeed, so must legendary full-back Yuto Nagatomo on the other side.

The Japanese wide players are tricky customers and very good dribblers. They will look to come inside Kehrer and Raum and onto Sule and Rudiger to attempt to get shots away. Likewise, Asano is a good finisher up front, which is likely why he has been preferred in the squad to Kyogo Furuhashi. The two centre-backs of Germany are big and powerful, so Japan are likely to find little success with high crosses in open play or through trying to outmuscle the Germans. Their best chance is to defend deep and then use their pace and trickery on transitions when Germany lose the ball. This situation is where the intelligence and elegance of playmaker Takumi Minamino come into play. He will look to take the ball in congested areas and play little passes in behind on transitions. His link with the four wider players of Japan is crucial if they are to get anything. Indeed, Japan may only get a few chances on goal, and they have to make them count. However, it will be difficult with the commanding presence of Manuel Neuer in the German goal. Neuer is also adept at starting moves off, and Japan must beware of this.

The midfield battle is crucial in this match. Gundogan and Kimmich will look to exert their dominance and control over the Japanese midfield. This situation is where Wataru Endo and Gaku Shibasaki (if selected) will prove crucial. They must be defensively resolute and disciplined, not allowing little gaps to appear that the Germans can play through. They must also cover wider areas. This match is much like the other opening match in the group, Spain vs Costa Rica. Germany, like Spain, will have most of the possession and will be looking to break down a stubborn Japanese rearguard. Germany have the ingenuity and invention to do so. Indeed, Havertz, Gnabry, the clever Jamal Musiala, and utility man Jonas Hofmann can find gaps through their dribbling, little slide-rule passes and crossing. Flick seems to like Hofmann a lot, playing him often. Overall, Germany should play like a less extreme version of Spain in terms of possession and look to break down Japan.

Both teams possess other options in terms of starting or introducing substitutes. Germany can use Nico Schlotterbeck in central defence. They can also use Muller in place of Havertz. Leon Goretzka is an alternative to Gundogan in midfield. Julian Brandt, the revitalised Mario Gotze and exciting young forwards Karim Adeyemi and Youssoufa Moukoko are talented options in attack. Indeed, the latter is the youngest player in the tournament, turning 18 on the first day of the competition. Japan, for their part, can play Miki Yamane at right-back if they want to play Tomiyasu in the centre. Shogo Taniguchi and Ko Itakura are also options at centre-back. Ao Tanaka could play in midfield. As stated, Junya Ito, Doan, Mitoma, and Takefusa Kubo are exciting like-for-like wide options. Daichi Kamada can come on as another playmaker too. They can also introduce Celtic striker Daizen Maeda for more industry.

Germany Key Players

Joshua Kimmich

Kimmich is an elegant technician who has been considered one of the world’s best midfielders for several years. He will look to win the midfield battle in this contest. Indeed, he will impose his technical passing game and calm and composed style on the ball against the Japanese midfielders. His link-up with Gundogan and Musiala will create a triangle which is tough to defend against. He will also come deep to collect the ball from the German centre-backs and cover for Raum when the left-back goes more advanced. He will play little passes out wide to isolate the German wingers with the Japan full-backs. Overall, Kimmich is a very classy customer who will be paramount in Germany’s controlling possession.

David Raum

Raum is an exciting full-back with a tremendous left foot who can drive forward, link play, and deliver crosses. He is expected to link up well with Gnabry wide left, attempting to get in behind the Japanese right-back and deliver low and high crosses the likes of Havertz can attack. He must also be defensively mindful, as Japan have a host of talented and tricky wingers who can be dangerous for the Germans. However, Raum will have the license to attack, as Kimmich and Gundogan will cover for him. He is a potential source of great potency for Germany with his marauding runs forward and ability to overlap Gnabry. The entire left side may prove pivotal for Germany.

Japan Key Players

Maya Yoshida

The Japanese captain is a tall and cultured centre-back. His height, physicality, and heading ability will prove crucial at set pieces. When Raum, Gnabry, or Hoffman cross the ball to be attacked, he must protect his goalkeeper (likely Daniel Schmidt) from the German onslaught. He, his centre-back partner, and the defensive midfielders must be diligent and not allow Germany to play through any gaps which appear. Yoshida will also be crucial in intercepting little balls fed into Havertz. Going the other way, he can initiate attacks as his distribution is good. He can also feed the ball into Endo or Shibasaki or go long for the front four to chase.

Takumi Minamino

An elegant number 10, Minamino’s dribbling and passing ability and buzzy nature will be critical if the Japanese are to get anything from this match. He must drop into midfield to help Endo and Shibasaki. When Japan win the ball, he must break to support the wingers and Asano. He is likely to do much defensive work, which is not his natural game but is essential against superior opponents such as Germany. However, on the occasions Japan do have good attacking situations, his passing must be on-point. He must do all he can to find his front players with little-through balls and defence-splitting passes. Kamada can come on to help him with this or is a similar profile of player to replace Minamino if he tires.

Germany vs Japan Prediction


Japan are a decent team and good defensively. Indeed, it is clear that Moriyasu prioritises defensive shape to the point that some may consider him a negative coach. Their 4-2-3-1 is likely to become a 4-5-1 often in this match as Minamino and the wingers will be pinned back and starved of the ball. Indeed, Germany will seek to control possession and give their talented forward players the platform to create chances in the final third. We don’t see an annihilation here, but we think Germany will make their possession count and win relatively comfortably, despite their struggles of late.

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