World Cup - Germany

Germany predicted lineup vs Japan - World Cup

Grey Whitebloom
Hansi Flick was assistant manager when Germany won the World Cup in 2014
Hansi Flick was assistant manager when Germany won the World Cup in 2014 / Jörg Halisch/GettyImages

Germany will play a record-equalling 110th World Cup match against Japan on Wednesday afternoon.

The four-time world champions took on the name "Die Mannschaft" - The Team - following their 2014 triumph in Brazil. However, the tag was dropped in June after poor results undermined a brand many deemed to be too arrogant anyway.

Nevertheless, here's the lineup Hansi Flick may deploy in the opening match for "Die Nationalmannschaft" ('The National Team' is allowed).

Germany predicted lineup vs Japan (4-2-3-1)

Leon Goretzka
Two-and-a-half years separated Leon Goretzka's first and second Germany caps / Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

GK: Manuel Neuer - Earlier this month, Neuer surprisingly revealed that he has undergone three facial surgeries to treat skin cancer.

RB: Thilo Kehrer - Shortly after his Premier League arrival, West Ham manager David Moyes admitted that he kept on mistakenly calling his new signing Theo. "Whatever happened to John?" Moyes asked. Kehrer goes by Thilo but his first name is actually Jan, if that helps David.

CB: Niklas Sule - Ahead of the 2018 World Cup, the former Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heyneckes claimed: "In a couple of years he’ll be the most sought-after central defender in Europe.” That hasn't quite come to pass but Borussia Dortmund were pleased to nab him from the Bavarians on a free transfer last summer.

CB: Antonio Rudiger - While receiving medical treatment for a nasty gash on his forehead after clashing with Shakhtar Donetsk's goalkeeper in this season's Champions League, Rudiger reportedly told his Real Madrid teammate David Alaba: "Don’t worry bro, I’m ugly anyway.”

LB: David Raum - To avoid costing himself a place in Flick's World Cup squad, Raum consulted with his national team manager before joining RB Leipzig this summer. Flick gave the green light and here he is.

CM: Joshua Kimmich - Often billed as Philipp Lahm's successor, the World Cup-winning captain has implored Kimmich to “work on his defensive tackling”.

CM: Leon Goretzka - Just days before the tournament, the World Cup ambassador Khalid Salman described homosexuality as "damage in the mind". Goretzka brandished those comments as "oppressive" and "from a different millennium".

AM: Jamal Musiala - The teenager's slippery dribbling has left his national team manager and former Bayern Munich coach positively smitten. "The way he plays football with such light feet and in such a relaxed manner is great," Flick gushed.

RW: Jonas Hofmann - Not one of the squad's household names but Hofmann is a Flick favourite, featuring in every competitive match since the 57-year-old took charge.

ST: Kai Havertz - A reluctant centre-forward, Havertz will likely be ushered up front unless Flick turns to Youssoufa Moukoko, who only turns 18 on the opening day of the tournament.

LW: Leroy Sane - When starting on the left wing, Sane has averaged one goal every three games in his career compared to just one in five when lining up on the opposite flank.