BERLIN – The German national soccer team traveled to Russia on Tuesday to defend the FIFA World Cup title with a squad of newcomers and veterans, a mixed team somewhat different than the squad that won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Germany coach Joachim Löw brought 14 new players to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, moving on from older players such as Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose and Mario Götze, who scored the winner against Argentina in the 2014 final.
The new blood is personified in defender Joshua Kimmich, who will play in the same position as retired Lahm, captain in 2014, while forward Timo Werner is to fill the gap of left by Klose.
However, despite the cuts, Löw’s squad – nicknamed Die Mannschaft – mainly depends on the 2014 champions, including defenders Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, midfielders Toni Kroos, Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil and forward Thomas Müller.
Germany qualified for this summer’s tournament after winning its 10 qualifying matches, in addition to claiming the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.
More recently, German confidence took a hit after suffering two friendly-match defeats against Brazil and Austria and three draws against England, France and Spain, as well as a single unconvincing 2-1 victory over Saudi Arabia.
The following players are likely to start for Germany in Russia: Manuel Neuer, Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Jonas Hector, Kroos, Khedira, Müller, Özil, Reus and Werner.
Germany, which is set to compete in Group F along with Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, is to debut in the World Cup against the Mexican squad “El Tri” on June 17.