The Germans are gunning for a win to add to their extensive collection. It’s tough to see which players from Sweden, Mexico, or South Korea could spoil the party in this top five, but Emil Forsberg and Son-Heung Min may have something to say about that.
5. Mats Julian Hummels (Germany)
“Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.” – Gary Lineker
Mats is one of the best defenders of the generation. Simple as. German engineering personified, the ball playing centre back will be hoping to draw level with Brazil on five World Cups after this edition. Sorry, Jerome Boateng, Son-Heung Min and German backup goalkeeper.
4. Joshua Walter Kimmich (Germany)
Watch this one very carefully, and don’t bet money against him either, because he’s got a real shot of becoming one of the greats. The 23 year old Bayern Munich star who rightfully elicits comparisons to the great Philipp Lahm possesses it all so it should be no surprise where he lands on this list. A midfielder turned right back, the versatile Kimmich has the rare ability of attacking with an instinct for scoring, creating and dribbling with flair, defending with poise and calm, and intercepting with purpose.
3. Mesut Özil (Germany)
On his day, one of the best handlers of a football you’ll ever wish to see. Supremely gifted, Mesut carries a reputation for being a let down on the big occasion. However, he is a different beast when not adorned in Arsenal colours and much rests on his Turkish-descended shoulders if Germany are to live up to the Lineker quote in 2018.
2. Toni Kroos (Germany)
Arguably the best central midfielder going around, Germany should be easing through this opening group in Kroos control. Imagine a perfect midfielder. Now, imagine somebody other than Toni Kroos. That he is second to this next guy is what should scare all comers.
1. Manuel Peter Neuer (Germany)
Possibly the best goalkeeper to play the game, Neuer is quietly chasing the ultimate greatness as he bids to distinguish himself from the likes of Lev Yashin and Gianluigi Buffon to earn the title of greatest to ever do it. That Marc-André ter Stegen isn’t even a starter for his national team goes to show how stacked the Germans are. Will that carry over to the tournament?