Eight years ago, Germany travelled to Brazil and stunned the footballing world by thrashing the hosts in the semi-final before downing Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the World Cup final to claim a fourth crown.
Almost a decade later as we prepare for the mid-season tournament in Qatar, a number of the heroes of Rio are still rocking it in the Bundesliga and enjoying a renewed lease of life. They remain amongst the league’s top weekly performers so far and will all hope to make the 2022 squad as they did back in 2014
Ginter’s surprise summer move to his hometown club Freiburg has been an unmitigated success thus far. It had been thought a switch to Serie A was on the cards, but the pull of Breisgau and a reunion with Christian Streich proved too much of a pull.
This season the 28-year-old has been integral in Freiburg’s great start to the season which sees them mixing it at the top of the table with Union, Dortmund, and Bayern. His instant connection with Philipp Lienhart has been a key factor and Ginter has already got on the scoresheet twice. He’s an almost-guaranteed name on Hansi Flick’s final World Cup squad list and he’ll be looking to forget the nightmare that was Russia 2018 and rekindle the triumph of Brazil 2014.
Like Ginter, Mario Götze also made a surprise return this summer after moving back from PSV Eindhoven to Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt. The scorer of the famous 2014 winning goal has instantly impressed and become a key part of the Adler’s attacking unit. With Randal Kolo Muani up front, Oliver Glasner has successfully deployed Götze behind with Daichi Kamada and Jesper Lindstrøm assisting in the creative department.
He scored an impressive goal against Werder Bremen and is being talked about as a possible, outside, wild card (maybe) candidate for this summer. It would be a shock to see him recalled, but then look what happened last time he was on the World Cup stage.
Joachim Löw’s infamous decision to drop both Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels from the Germany squad following the 2018 World Cup debacle caused no end of discussion. The fact that Müller literally made it impossible not to reverse the decision with his stunning form for Bayern Munich gave Hummels hope.
He too has now reached the consistently high levels of performance week in, week out in the Bundesliga that make a call-up seemingly a straightforward decision. He was however overlooked for the latest squad to face Hungary and England, but Hansi Flick has not closed the door on Hummels completely.
“Everyone still has a chance to jump on the World Cup train,” Flick answered in an interview with the DFB, when asked about the notable omissions from his squad.
After watching Dortmund’s Champions League tie with Manchester City, he was full of praise for the 33-year-old. “BVB delivered a great performance and defended superbly for 80 minutes. I especially liked Mats Hummels. He is in very good form and looks absolutely fit.”
Under new Borussia Mönchengladbach trainer Daniel Farke, Christoph Kramer is enjoying a new lease of life after being largely overlooked last season under Adi Hütter. The defensive midfielder has anchored the Foals superbly alongside Manu Koné and lately Julian Weigl. He has even showed that he can drop into the back four when required and performed admirably.
Kramer is unfortunately remembered for his World Cup final concussion more than most things. A return to the fold where he might recall more of what is going on would be a great achievement and if Hansi Flick wants an experienced, in-form player for the centre of his midfield to back-up Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Ilkay Gundogan, Kramer would be an ideal pick.
As mentioned, Jogi Löw’s decision to axe Müller after the poor showing from Germany in Russia 2018 became totally untenable when the Bayern forward’s displays for club reached Ballon d’Or levels. His inevitable return has seen him back in the fold and Hansi Flick knows exactly what he can expect from Müller after their successful time together at the Allianz Arena.
Age is not on his side with much younger, faster, and more dynamic players vying for a place in the starting XI, but he is still somebody you need in your squad and his place on the plane to Qatar seems a given.
He was Germany’s number one in 2010. He was Germany’s number one in 2014. He was Germany’s number one in 2018 and simply remains Germany’s number one in 2022. Neuer is world class and simply goes on the team sheet without any real consideration of alternatives (much to the consternation of ter Stegen and Kevin Trapp).