Germany predicted lineup vs Spain - World Cup

Grey Whitebloom
“It feels like coming home,” Hansi Flick said about his return to the German national team
“It feels like coming home,” Hansi Flick said about his return to the German national team / Mohamed Farag/GettyImages

Germany's World Cup future hangs in the balance ahead of a group-stage encounter with Spain on Sunday evening.

Following the dramatic upset against Japan, Germany face the prospect of losing consecutive games at the same World Cup for the first time since 1958. Playing under the guise of West Germany, Sepp Herberger's side were undone by hosts Sweden in the semi-final before France claimed third-place at their expense in the subsequent play-off.

Here's the XI Hansi Flick may deploy to avoid a pair of defeats in far less impressive circumstances.

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

Antonio Ruediger
Antonio Rudiger's only appearance at the 2018 World Cup was Germany's victory against Sweden / Markus Gilliar - GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

GK: Manuel Neuer - Germany's goalkeeper has finished his last two World Cup matches inside the opposition half bizarrely.

RB: Thilo Kehrer - Flick singled out Niklas Sule for Japan's winner ("Niklas has to pay attention") and may be tempted to drop the Borussia Dortmund defender in favour of Kehrer.

CB: Antonio Rudiger - Watch out for Rudiger's eye-catching recovery run, as he bounds around the field with his knees pumping right up to his chest. Whether for show or speed, it certainly works.

CB: Nico Schlotterbeck - Part of Germany's starting XI that staged an alternative protest ahead of the defeat to Japan, Schlotterbeck - when his mouth wasn't covered - recently said: "Football must be there for everyone and open to everyone. It stands for diversity."

LB: David Raum - In April 2021, Raum scored for Greuther Furth in the German second tier. Less than two years later, he is the national team's starting left-back at the World Cup.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan - “You felt that not everyone really wanted the ball," Gundogan damningly admitted, reflecting on his side's second-half display against Japan. That is certainly not the case for his Spanish counterparts. Half of Spain's outfielders had more than 100 touches against Costa Rica.

CM: Joshua Kimmich - "You're not good enough, your body is not strong enough," was the feedback an 18-year-old Kimmich received when VfB Stuttgart's first team turned down the teenager. Nine years later, he's at his second World Cup.

AM: Thomas Muller - The former Arsenal centre-back Shkodran Mustafi has scored at a major tournament for Germany more recently than Muller.

RW: Serge Gnabry - When Gnabry joined Werder Bremen he was touted as the latest member of the family to make waves in the world of professional football. Statistics for his father mysteriously appeared but Gnabry Jr. cleared up the rumours. “We could leave him that honour, but it’s just not true.”

ST: Kai Havertz - Not content with labelling him as an out-and-out number nine, Havertz's former Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel, compared him to three forwards. “I see a bit of Dennis Bergkamp, Robin Van Persie, [Dimitar] Berbatov kind of player," he offered.

LW: Jamal Musiala - The spectacle of Musiala in full flow has been described as "a feast for the eyes" by Bayern Munich's (admittedly biased) sporting director, Hasan Salihamidzic.

Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders, Grizz Khan and Jack Gallagher to look back on France '98 as part of the 'Our World Cup' series. We take a trip down memory lane - join us!

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