Here’s our preview for Wednesday’s World Cup clash between Germany and Japan, including predicted lineups.
Germany kick off their World Cup 2022 campaign against Japan at Khalifa International Stadium on Wednesday at 14:00 CET.
At a press conference ahead of the game, Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff emphasized how important it would be to get off to a winning start.
“The route of your tournament is always decisive. We have a lot of quality, and it’s important to get off to a strong start. If you build up that confidence than anything is possible and you have to take it game by game,” he told reporters.
Even if Germany are widely seen as favorites to win the game, Bierhoff is wary that Japan could cause problems from Hansi Flick’s side.
“We will have to prepare ourselves for the uphill battle; it’s not witchcraft. The not so historically great nations usually make life especially difficult for you. You have to take the game to them and take risks. If you can’t find a way to score against them, you risk being hit on the counter and going behind. We have been warned and have to start to focus – then we achieve anything,” said the Germany boss.
Manuel Neuer is set to play his 115th game in goal, with Thilo Kehrer, Niklas Süle, Antonio Rüdiger and Antonio Raum expected to play in front of him.
Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gündogan are likely to partner up in the middle of the park, while Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Leroy Sané and Kai Havertz could form the front four.
Jonas Hofmann is an option to come in at right-back or on the wing, while Niclas Füllkrug is pushing to start up front after scoring on his debut in Germany’s 1-0 World Cup warm-up friendly win over Oman last week.
Click here to see our predicted lineups.