Germany will become the first country to complete a century of World Cup games when they take on Portugal in their opening Group G fixture today but Joachim Low’s men are under pressure to make history of a different kind in Brazil.
You have to go back to Euro 96 for the last time the three-times World Cup winners lifted a trophy and the pressure to end this drought is building, according to Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
“In Germany, the expectation rises as the tournaments go by,” admitted the Bayern Munich player, who hopes it can spur the team to achieve great things. “As far as I am concerned, I need that kind of pressure. I like these large tournaments – they’re the greatest in football history and I believe we are a country that can get the best out of ourselves in a tournament environment. We shouldn’t see it as negative pressure but use fans’ expectations to inspire us.”
GERMANY: Group G team profile
GERMANY: Group G team profile
Joachim Low took Germany very far in the previous World Cup with decisive wins against the likes of England and Argentina, but was not able to stop Spain at the semi-finals. The 54-year-old has instilled great discipline in the dressing room and has turned his squad into a machine so strong that no one would be able to break them on their day.
2/4 Star player
It is hard to choose amongst all those high-quality players, but Thomas Muller epitomises the hard working ethos that Low has laid down on his side. The Bayern Munich player is a modern forward that knows how to move on the pitch with or without the ball, he knows how to convert chances and has proven to be the man that saves the day when things get difficult.
3/4 Emerging talent
Julian Draxler is only 20-years-old but his talent is so great that he is on top of Arsene Wenger’s wish list. The Shalke midfielder has scored two goals and produced six assists in 26 Bundesliga matches and his dribbling skills could be more than useful for Joachim Low’s side.
4/4 How they will line up: (4-2-3-1)
Neuer; Lahm, Mertesacker, Boateng, Schmelzer; Schweinsteiger, Kroos; Gotze, Ozil, Muller; Klose.
Germany have come close several times under coach Low, who has steered them to the Euro 2008 final and the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. After those near-misses, Low too is under pressure to deliver but he is encouraged by the spirit in the German camp and the blend of players at this disposal. “I believe we have an excellent balance of experienced players and young players,” he said.
“If we work well as a team, if we defend well and take our opportunities in attack, I believe we have great opportunity to make it really far in this tournament.
“These days of preparation have been important,” added Low who has seen fitness doubts over a number of key players clear. “We have been able to add to the spirit of the team, which has really come together. The team know exactly what is at stake.”
And however far they go, one German player in particular may achieve his own slice of history in Brazil with striker Miroslav Klose one goal short of equalling the 15-goal World Cup scoring record of Ronaldo. “He knows no fear, he is not impressed by the hype surrounding the tournament, I believe he has vital role,” added Low. Klose will not be the only one if Germany really are to end their long wait. Reuse content