[WORLD CUP 2014: Germany]
Even with mediocre talent, the Germans tend to do well at World Cups. Examples: 1986 and 2002 when they were runners-up to Argentina and
Brazil, respectively. This is no mediocre team Germany is sending to Brazil. USA-Germany:
June 25, 12 p.m. ET, Recife
only starting to rebuild when U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann
took it to third place at the 2006 finals it hosted. Since then, each tournament has introduced the
world to a new group of young German stars.
Coach Joachim Loew
’s team includes five 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or short list players -- Philipp Lahm
, Thomas Mueller
, Mesut Ozil
and Manuel Neuer
-- all members of the 2010 World Cup squad that was the second youngest in South Africa and the highest scoring. And
they're just the tip of the iceberg.
In the last four years, which included a semifinal appearance at Euro 2012, several young stars have stepped up: Marco Reus
, Toni Kroos
, Andre Schuerrle
, Mario Goetze
The only possible worries: no sure-fire replacement on the horizon for aging Miroslav Klose
, the second all-time World Cup scorer with 14 goals, and the knee
injury to Sami Khedira
that makes him questionable for Brazil.
Germany has other tremendous central midfielders, but 23-year-old Ilkay Gundogan
of Borussia Dortmund and Schweinsteiger have both been bothered with injuries. Possible 23
Rene Adler (Hamburg), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96) Defenders:
Boateng (Bayern Munich), Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke 04), Mats Hummels (Bor. Dortmund), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Marcel Schmelzer (Bor.
Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Draxler (Schalke 04), Mario Goetze (Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Thomas
Mueller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Bor. Dortmund), Andre Schuerrle (Chelsea), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal), Ilkay Gundogan (Bor.
Max Kruse (Bor. M'Gladbach), Miroslav Klose (Lazio).