World Cup 2014: Germany Preview - Will Low's world class midfield be enough?

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Germany head into the World Cup as one of the best squads of players and a bookie’s favourite to take the title.

The Perception

The perception of this German team is that there are very few weak links that Jordi Low needs to pay attention to. However, there is also a perception that some key players are out of form, with Mesut Ozil struggling over the second half of the season for Arsenal and Julian Draxler failing to repeat the form, which attracted Arsenal’s interest in the first place.

The Reality

Defence and midfield aren’t a problem for this German side. The defence has experience through Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker and quality in the form of Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels. The list of talented midfield players makes the middle of Germany’s teams possibly the best at the tournament. They have match winners all over the middle of the team and players who can help them control a game.

Strengths

The midfield is the biggest strength without a doubt. Mesut Ozil, Marco Reus, Sami Khedira, Lars Bender, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, the list just goes on and on in terms of the top quality players in the squad. Germany have every angle covered in terms of midfield whether the emphasis is on Bender holding in front of the back four or Ozil doing what he does best as the number ten in behind the main striker. Germany also have plenty of experience, with several players who have played at World Cups before.

Weaknesses

The attack of the squad will be a concern for some Germany fans with Kevin Volland and Miroslav Klose the only recognised forwards selected by Low. Germany do have several players who can play both midfield and forward roles such as Arsenal star Lukas Podolski but it does create an obvious danger for the side. Teams will try and tactically flood Germany’s midfield and isolate the sole striker, as it looks like Low will play 4-5-1, containing Germany, frustrating them and then trying to hit them on the counter attack.

Key Player

Manchester United transfer target Thomas Muller is Germany’s key player. He’s shown time and time against with Bayern Munich that he’s got more midfield versatility then people give him credit for and he scores important goals at important times. Muller will be an extremely important player if Ghana, Portugal or the USA are able to cut off the German midfield supply to the attack effectively.

One to Watch

Julian Draxler is the player to watch considering the interest in him from sides like Arsenal and Bayern Munich, but more so because his form dipped over the second half of the season. He may have doubted that Low would give him a chance considering the importance of this tournament for the Germans but he’s still in the squad as an extremely talented, young and attacking player.

Verdict

The spine of this German side is superb. The defence won’t concede too many goals and they have every base covered in terms of their midfield. The thing to look at is how the midfield operates and links up with the attack. Sides will be going all out to cut the head off of this German side, which places those world class midfielders under pressure. Whether they buckle remains to be seen.

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