Whenever a World Cup comes around, you can be certain of one thing: Germany will be among the favourites to win the tournament. With the exception of 1930 and 1950, when they were barred from entering, die Mannschaft have taken part in every edition of the planet’s biggest sporting event, winning the trophy four times and finishing as runners-up on another four occasions.
As journalist Raphael Honigstein has said: “a bad Germany gets to the final, a good Germany wins it.” It should come as no surprise, then, that Joachim Low’s charges have been widely tipped to go all the way this summer.
Germany arrive in Russia as defending champions having become the first European nation to win the World Cup in South America four years ago, with a 1-0 extra-time defeat of Argentina in the final following that remarkable 7-1 thrashing of hosts Brazil in the last four.
The core of that group remains intact, even though Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger have now retired, while the post-2014 emergence of several other stars means the Germans possess one of the strongest squads in the competition and are the bookies’ favourites at top soccer betting sites.
The group stage draw has also been kind, with none of South Korea, Mexico or Sweden likely to cause Low’s men too many problems. Germany are experts at pacing themselves at international tournaments, so they may not play sparkling soccer in the first round but they are nonetheless likely to ease to victory in all three of their early encounters.
Amassing nine points is not always as straightforward as it sounds – Germany, for instance, failed to do so in 2002, 2010 and 2014, despite reaching the final twice and the semi-finals once in that period – but the schedule could play into their hands here. Low’s side take on toughest opponents Mexico first, and even if they take their foot off the gas in their final group game, they should still prove too strong for the South Koreans. Backing the holders to collect nine points from nine therefore looks like a tempting proposition at 2/1 (888sport).
A top-spot finish in Group F would bring a last-16 meeting with Group E’s runners-up, likely to be one of Costa Rica, Switzerland or Serbia. Germany would be widely fancied to successfully negotiate such a tie and, unless one of the heavyweights surprisingly finishes second in their group, they should beat whoever stands in their way in the last eight. There is, however, reason to believe they could fall short of reaching the final for the ninth time in their history.
The way the bracket has been drawn up, there is a distinct possibility of Germany taking on Spain in the semi-finals. That is a prospective match-up that both teams would fear, and it is certainly possible to imagine Low’s men emerging victorious from what would be a highly anticipated soccer betting event between two excellent teams.
Yet Spain look to be in fine shape at present, blending the tiki-taka style which brought them unprecedented glory between 2008 and 2014 with a little more dynamism and spark than those possession-obsessed teams of the past.
That brings with it a greater element of risk – Spain’s dominance of the ball helped them maintain a fine defensive record and made it difficult for opponents to gain a foothold in any given game – but it also provides them with another way to beat a team like Germany, whose run at this World Cup could end at the semi-final stage. Karamba offer 9/2 on the holders exiting the competition in the last four.
The golden boot market is an interesting one to consider as far as Germany are concerned. Miroslav Klose has now departed the scene – but not before he became the World Cup’s highest scorer of all time in 2014 – with RB Leipzig sharp-shooter Timo Werner in line to start up top this summer.
It remains to be seen whether the 22-year-old, whose game is based on speed and darting runs in behind, will thrive against opponents who defend deep against Germany, though, while Mesut Ozil has never been a prolific converter of chances even if he is world-class at creating them.
With that in mind, the most sensible option would be to put some money on Thomas Muller, a player who always thrives at international level, finding the back of the net more often than any of his team-mates – you can back the Bayern Munich attacker to do exactly that at a price of 5/1 (bet-at-home).