Germany coach Joachim Low has finalized his personnel plans for Brazil, and it may come off as a bit shocking on his decisions – but in keeping true to the German nature, there is a method to his madness. Low has named just one striker, Miroslav Klose, to the final 23-man roster when Hoffenheim striker Kevin Volland was sent packing.
German 23-man roster in full:
GK: Manuel Neuer, Roman Weidenfeller, Ron-Robert Zieler
DF: Philipp Lahm, Kevin Grosskreutz, Mats Hummels, Per Mertesacker, Benedikt Howedes, Jerome Boateng, Erik Durm
MF: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira, Matthias Ginter, Christoph Kramer, Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Andre Schurrle, Mesut Ozil, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Lukas Podolski, Julian Draxler
ST: Miroslav Klose
At first glance, Low’s stacking of the German midfield with twelve of the twenty-three roster slots seems peculiar, but if you take a second look, this is where the true strength of Germany comes to the fore. The ability to have a squad that not only can rotate, but be versatile in it’s rotation, will be a key component for anyone who has ambitions on lifting the World Cup this summer.
It is no secret that many European teams will be at a great disadvantage in Brazil when it comes to the climate. The weather this time of year in that part of the world is something that German’s are not accustomed to, and it appears that Low is taking this into account.
There is an old saying that matches are won and lost in the midfield – this sentiment holds even greater weight when it comes to tournaments, especially the World Cup. With taking a midfield heavy roster, Low has given himself a multitude of options that can be levied based on various circumstances, opponents and unforeseen events. Germany is incredibly flexible with this squad, and that will be exceedingly difficult to play against.
Consider the following; Lahm, Grosskreutz, Boateng, Ginter, Kramer, Kross, Muller, Schurrle, Ozil, Gotze, Reus, Podolski and Draxler (13 out of the 20 field players) can all be deployed in at least two different ways, in some cases three or more. It is entirely plausible that Low will deploy his troops in one fashion against Portugal, but two entirely different ways against both the United States and Ghana – his ability to keep players fresh and keeping the opposition guessing is his ace in the hole this summer.
Germany’s versatility is a massive asset, of this there is no question. The only downside to such versatility however, is that it does not afford the building of a cohesive unit. The teams Germany will face in the group stage are all likely to deploy identical or very similar starting XI’s each match, regardless of opponent, which allows them to have a better and more consistent understanding on the pitch. Truthfully however, this boils down to tactical preference, but when you have a squad as deep as Germany does, you should consider using it to it’s maximum potential.
Whether or not Germany will succeed or fail this summer under the umbrella of being a tournament favorite remains to be seen, but Joachim Low is certainly giving his players the best possible formula to apply in Brazil – depth, versatility and an emphasis on midfield supremacy puts Germany at the top of the list of expected arrivals at the Estadio do Maracana come July 13th.