Germany and Japan have not yet crossed paths particularly often. Two friendlies from 2004 and 2006 are no longer relevant today. After all, goals from Miroslav Klose, Michael Ballack and Bastian Schweinsteiger ensure that the national team is still undefeated against the Samurai Blue.
The Japanese now have a remarkable tradition in Germany. So it’s not surprising that many names in Hajime Moriyasu’s starting eleven are known from the Bundesliga. Ko Itakura, Wataru Endo, Maya Yoshida and former Hanoverian Hiroki Sakai provide defensive cover. Daichi Kamada and Ao Tanaka whirl in midfield. Hiroki Ito, Ritsu Dōan and Takuma Asano are also on the bench. One should also look at Real Sociedad striker Takefusa Kubo, who should play an important role in the transition game.
It’s been three years since Japan’s last major tournament. In the final of the Asian Cup 2019, the Samurai Blue surprisingly lost to Qatar. A few months later, the Asians took part in the Copa America as guests, but were kicked out in the group stage. A lot has happened in the team since then, players like Daichi Kamada have come to the fore. Despite the sovereign World Cup qualification, the question marks still prevail. The appearances in the recent friendlies were too inconsistent. If Japan puts everything on the field, the Germans face a very unpleasant opponent.
A few important questions have finally been answered because Hansi Flick’s starting XI has been decided. David Raum, Antonio Rüdiger, Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Süle defend from left to right in front of Manuel Neuer. Joshua Kimmich and İlkay Gündoğan form the double six. Jamal Musiala replaces the injured Leroy Sané. The Bayern offensive complement Thomas Müller and Serge Gnabry. Kai Havertz storms in front!
Germany is known as a tournament team, but has recently lost its stride. The title of reigning world champion was already over in the group phase in 2018. It was only slightly better at last year’s European Championships, when the Germans lost to England in the round of 16. The sovereign World Cup qualification was only a little balm, the focus was much more on the weak performance in the Nations League. With a view to the meager World Cup test against Oman, little euphoria has been sparked so far.
Before this game, the sporting aspect took a back seat. The voices around the One Love captain’s armband were too loud, and ultimately the silence that accompanies the renunciation of this is too loud. Since nothing is known exactly about FIFA’s catalog of penalties, the focus should now be placed on football. Who knows? Maybe the German national team will find another way to protest.
Three days after the opening game, the German national team will start the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. At 2:00 p.m., the Japanese Samurai Blue is waiting. Warm welcome!