Germany are not used to World Cup failures and do not intend to reflect on their Russia 2018 experience as they prepare to begin their 2022 campaign against Japan.

Die Mannschaft are four-time world champions and have reached at least the semi-finals at four of the five tournaments since the start of this century – more than any other nation over this period.

But the exception came four years ago as Germany – then the holders – exited in the group stage, losing to Mexico and South Korea.

It was the first time since 1950, when Germany were last absent from the World Cup, that they had failed to progress beyond the first round.

Defender Niklas Sule's only finals appearance to date was in the 2-0 reverse against South Korea, and it is not an experience he is particularly keen to revisit.

"It doesn't matter anymore," he told the media.

"We are in a fast-paced society where there is no time for success and failure. I also explicitly mention the successes. What happened yesterday no longer interests anyone." 

 

Germany, who will be without the injured Leroy Sane, have been drawn into a tough group that includes Spain and Costa Rica as well as Japan, but they rebounded impressively in qualification.

After hosts Qatar, Hansi Flick's side were the first to book their place at the finals, with only England (39) scoring more goals in the European qualifiers (36).

"We have the quality to go far," World Cup debutant Jamal Musiala added. "We go in with the mindset to win the title. We believe in it and are all eager for it to start now."

Opponents Japan have won only one of their last eight World Cup matches, although that sole victory – in their Russia opener against Colombia – was enough to take them through to the round of 16 last time out.

The Samurai Blue have plenty of experience on the global stage, appearing at a seventh straight finals, although they have never advanced to the second round at consecutive editions.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Germany – Jamal Musiala

Thomas Muller has been Germany's main man at recent World Cups, with his 10 goals and six assists in 16 appearances the most of any player since his finals debut in 2010. Only Miroslav Klose (16), Gerd Muller (14) and Jurgen Klinsmann (11) have more World Cup goals for Die Mannschaft.

But Muller may no longer be a guaranteed starter under Flick, with Bayern Munich team-mate Musiala the face of this younger team.

The 19-year-old, who could have instead been playing for England in Qatar, is more than capable of picking up the mantle, having scored nine goals and assisted six more in the Bundesliga this season. His 15 goal involvements are the most of any teenager across Europe's top five leagues.

Japan – Takumi Minamino

Minamino, like Musiala, is in line for his World Cup debut, despite being named in Japan's preliminary squad as long ago as Brazil 2014.

An underwhelming stint at Liverpool slowed the attacker's progress at club level, and he has netted only a single goal for Monaco this season, having been limited to just 333 minutes in Ligue 1 across nine appearances.

However, for Japan, Minamino was the key man in qualification, scoring 10 goals and assisting four – form he will hope to carry into the finals.

PREDICTION

This is the first meeting between Germany and Japan at a World Cup, but Die Mannschaft are unbeaten across their two previous encounters in friendlies – and Stats Perform's prediction model expects them to maintain that record.

In his first game as a head coach at a major tournament, Flick is given a 65.4 per cent chance of leading Germany to victory.

Japan are an outside 14.1 per cent shot, while the draw is rated at 20.5 per cent – a result Germany perhaps cannot afford with Spain still to play. 

Hansi Flick was pleased to see Niclas Fullkrug score on his Germany debut, but admitted his side were far from their best despite the 1-0 win over Oman.

The visitors struggled in Muscat in their World Cup warm-up game, relying on substitute Fullkrug's 80th-minute strike to take victory in a match that never really got going.

Though Germany will not be the only side battling fatigue amid a mid-season tournament, their lacklustre performance against relative minnows perhaps highlighted the difficulties they could face at Qatar 2022, which begins on Sunday.

Flick did take time to praise Fullkrug, the Werder Bremen striker winning his first cap after firing 10 goals in 14 Bundesliga games this season, while outlining his concerns over their warm-up showing.

"He deserved the goal," Flick told RTL after the win. "He had two or three other shots also. You could already feel when he was on the pitch, there was a presence up front."

Germany won just 38.4 per cent of their duels against Oman, but while the head coach admitted they will need to do better at the World Cup, did acknowledge that low number was likely down to his players wanting to avoid injury.

"Of course you have to say, if you see how we tackled in duels, that's not the level we want at the World Cup. But you can also understand that no one wants to hurt themselves."

Flick did lose defender Lukas Klostermann during the first half, with the RB Leipzig man only recently returning from a lay-off with knee ligament issues.

Germany kick off their World Cup campaign against Japan on November 23, before further Group E matches with Spain and Costa Rica.

Germany head coach Hansi Flick said the omission of Mats Hummels from his World Cup squad is with a "view to the future".

The Borussia Dortmund defender has not represented the national side since 2021 but was a candidate for a return after impressive performances at club level this season.

However, Flick opted against bringing the 33-year-old back into the fold and instead handed a spot to Southampton's 20-year-old Armel Bella-Kotchap and Hummels' 22-year-old Dortmund team-mate Nico Schlotterbeck.

With the pair facing a stern battle for minutes, and Antonio Rudiger and Niklas Sule for competition, Flick's selection sees him cast an eye to the future.

"We thought about how to put together the squad. We watched a lot of his games, he has excellent form, is in top shape and has given Dortmund a lot," he said.

"With a view to the future, we have opted for a younger player in the coaching team, it's nothing against Mats. Mats can be good for any team."

One player who could make his international debut in the squad is Werder Bremen striker Niclas Fullkrug, who stands second in the Bundesliga scoring charts with 10 goals, and Flick says he has been watching him for six years.

"The first time I noticed Füllkrug was in 2016, when it came to nominating players for the Olympics. I've seen him a few times," he added.

"He is very confident on the ball, has a good finish and his headers are also an element that is good for us. How far a player appears in our considerations for a game is up to the players themselves."

"Niclas has ten goals. He has the momentum on his side. He does it very well. I also talked to Ole Werner (Bremen coach) for a very long time.

"If you look at Bremen's games, they have always changed something in the last minute. He gives the team confidence and self-image. He can identify well with any role."

Mario Gotze's return after a five-year absence is another highlight in the squad and Flick singled him out for praise.

"We all know that Mario is a brilliant footballer and a great person. He has flashes of thought. He was the last games at a very, very high level. He's in top shape," he said.

"It's the first time he's been there for a long time. He is very happy about it, we are looking forward to him too. This squad nomination gives us a lot of opportunities."

Mario Gotze has returned to the Germany squad for the World Cup, with Youssoufa Moukoko and Niclas Fullkrug also included.

Gotze, scorer of the winning goal in the 2014 final against Argentina, has not played for the national side since 2017 but has earned a fresh opportunity following his impressive form since moving to Eintracht Frankfurt last year.

Meanwhile, Dortmund attacker Moukoko could make his first senior appearance for Germany, benefitting from the injury-enforced absences of Timo Werner and Lukas Nmecha, but there is no return for Mats Hummels, who has not played international football this year, despite fine form this season.

Defensively, Southampton's Armel Bella-Kotchap and RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann are included, the latter of whom has not featured in the Bundesliga since the opening weekend of the season, along with Freiburg duo Christian Gunter and Matthias Ginter.

Bayern quartet Joshua Kimmich, Jamal Musiala, Thomas Muller and Leon Goretzka are all included, along with Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan and Chelsea's Kai Havertz.

Werder Bremen's Niclas Fullkrug is another attacker looking to make his first appearance for Germany, having scored 10 Bundesliga goals so far this season.

Full squad: Manuel Neuer (Bayern), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt); Armel Bella-Kotchap (Southampton), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Christian Gunter (Freiburg), Thilo Kehrer (West Ham), Lukas Klostermann (RB Leipzig), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Niklas Sule (Borussia Dortmund); Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Leon Goretzka (Bayern), Mario Gotze (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ilkay Gundogan (Man City), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern), Jamal Musiala (Bayern), Thomas Muller (Bayern), Karim Adeyemi (Borussia Dortmund); Niclas Fullkrug (Werder Bremen), Serge Gnabry (Bayern), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach), Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund), Leroy Sane (Bayern).

Manuel Neuer has left the door open to representing Germany at another World Cup after this year's tournament in Qatar.

The goalkeeper, who won the Golden Glove at Brazil 2014 eight years ago with four clean sheets over seven games, looks set to play in his fourth edition later this month.

The Bayern Munich man has recovered from a shoulder injury, and is expected to be included in Hansi Flick's squad for Qatar 2022.

But Neuer has refused to rule out appearing at a fifth tournament, at the 2026 World Cup, when he will be 40 years old, keeping the door open for his international future.

"You never know. I assume that it will be the last World Cup for me, but it doesn't have to be like that," he told Sports Illustrated.

"I'm not afraid to say that we want to be world champions. We know that many nations want that. Many things play a role, but we need the right momentum."

The upcoming tournament will be the first at which Germany have not been led by Joachim Low since 2006, with his former assistant Flick taking the reins since.

Neuer enjoys a close relationship with the coach, having won the Champions League in 2020 under him, and believes his man management skills are a particular asset.

"After his time with the national team, we were always in contact and exchanged ideas. It's important to me that you can say everything to his face openly and honestly," the goalkeeper added.

"That's what I like about [Flick]. I don't have to mince my words and can be honest, even if I think that he didn't do something very well. I don't treat him any differently than I would a player, I can just throw my opinion out there."

Meanwhile, Neuer will be one of eight European captains – including England's Harry Kane – to wear a distinctive heart-adorned armband as part of the OneLove campaign in Qatar, protesting against discrimination in a country where same-sex relationships are criminalised.

The goalkeeper highlighted the importance of displaying unity through that gesture, adding: "The last European Championship took place during the Pride month of June, and within many European teams we decided we have to set an example. 

"Like in the round of 16 against England, when we supported each other, we went along with the Englishmen on their knees [against racism]. Harry Kane, like me, wore the rainbow armband. 

"That's how the European national teams came up with the idea of showing our flag together in Qatar. We want to demonstrate this diversity and freedom together. 

"We don't hide ourselves with 'OneLove', even if we were accused of it not being a rainbow flag [on the armband].

"We are acting even more united, and are showing the sense of unity that not only one nation is committed but that we are doing this together."

Germany forward Timo Werner is out of the World Cup after suffering an ankle ligament tear while playing for RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Werner down injured in the first half following a challenge from Shakhtar Donetsk's Taras Stepanenko, and was substituted after attempting to continue. 

The 26-year-old was replaced by Emil Forsberg in the 19th minute and Leipzig went on to win the game 4-0, securing their place in the round of 16.

Leipzig on Thursday announced Werner will not play again this year, stating in a tweet: "Timo Werner suffered an ankle injury last night in the win over Shakhtar Donetsk.

"Scans today in Leipzig showed that he has unfortunately torn the syndesmosis ligament in his left ankle and will therefore be out for the rest of 2022."

Since making his debut in 2017, Werner has scored 24 goals in 55 matches for his country.

He rejoined Leipzig in August after two seasons with Chelsea and has scored nine goals in 16 matches for the Bundesliga club, but will not be boarding the plane to Qatar.

The news is a blow to Germany head coach Hansi Flick as he prepares for his first major tournament in charge since replacing Joachim Low, with their opening game against Japan on November 23.

Former Germany defender Jerome Boateng has laughed off criticism of the national team ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, joking there are "80 million national coaches".

Germany's 3-3 Nations League draw with England on Monday meant they finished third in Group A3, having won just one of their six matches.

Their shaky recent performances and failure to reach the Nations League's final four have led to questions being asked of manager Hansi Flick.

But Boateng, who played 76 times for Germany between 2009 and 2018, believes fans should reserve judgement of the team until the World Cup is over.

"Shortly before the World Cup we have 80 million national coaches again," Boateng wrote in an Instagram story, alongside a laughing emoji.

"We have a strong team, we can beat any opponent and become world champions. We have young players in all positions.

"How about approaching the World Cup in a positive way and not criticising the team and bringing in unrest?

"Stay positive and support the team together. After the World Cup you can add your two cents again."

Hansi Flick warned his Germany side individual errors will be "deadly" at the World Cup after an entertaining back-and-forth Nations League encounter against England at Wembley.

The visitors led by two goals after Ilkay Gundogan's penalty and Kai Havertz's expert long-range finish punished the Three Lions.

However, three goals in the space of 12 minutes from Luke Shaw, Mason Mount and Harry Kane had already-relegated England in front with seven minutes to play.

An error from goalkeeper Nick Pope allowed Havertz to make it 3-3 late on, but head coach Flick acknowledged Germany must be better at protecting a lead in Qatar.

"The result is very disappointing. I think we were very stable after 2-0 and we made individual mistakes, and you have to say that England brought in two fresh players who then also played a part in making England more effective offensively," Flick said.

"We made individual mistakes and that's why it's disappointing. 

"You have to look at the whole game and I think we did many things well, really well. In a phase where we got the three goals, that shouldn't happen to us, because especially at a World Cup, things like that are of course deadly and you're eliminated faster than you think. 

"Therefore, if you look at it positively, you simply have to say that we know what we can work on. 

"We'll analyse the game properly again because, of course, at first glance, I've seen the goals conceded, just once or twice now, and that's partly individual, where we sometimes made the mistakes. And everyone has to do their job over 90 minutes and we have to work on that."

Flick, though, was effusive in his praise of Bayern Munich star Jamal Musiala, who was a constant thorn in England's side and drew the foul from Harry Maguire for Germany's opener from the spot.

"Jamal just showed why he is an exceptional talent. He got us the second goal from in his own half and he's both defensive and offensive, I think he's a player that's good for us," Flick added.

"And simply by his dribbling ability, he can pull out situations like penalties, but of course also he can move opponents around, one or two players are out of position and then it's a different situation. 

"Then we have more room, more space and those are the things that are good for us."

Germany boss Hansi Flick says he must take responsibility for his side's Nations League defeat to Hungary, after suffering the first loss of his tenure.

Adam Szalai's outrageous first-half flick was the only goal of a 1-0 loss in Leipzig, as the hosts failed to turn almost three-quarters of possession into a response on the scoreboard in Group A3.

It condemned Germany to a first loss against Hungary since 2004, with Flick's side often looking uncomfortably despite their control, with Jonas Hofmann dropped to right-back instead of his traditional midfield role.

Speaking afterwards, the former Bayern Munich boss admitted he has gambled incorrectly, though England's loss to Italy means they are safe from relegation, excusing further blushes.

"We wanted to try something with Jonas in the right-back position," he told ZDF. "I have to take responsibility for that. We never got where we wanted to use [our full-backs]. That's didn't work."

Addressing a media conference shortly afterwards, Flick added his side would not be disorientated by the result with the Qatar 2022 World Cup looming however, adding: "This defeat will not throw us off track.

"We know what is required of us now and this has opened our eyes a bit. It’s better to lose now rather than at the World Cup.

"Our first half was really poor. We didn’t do enough, played without confidence and made too many basic errors. It was a lot better after the break, though we failed to create enough chances."

Hofmann concurred with Flick's assessment, and vowed to not let a first loss since last year's last16 exit at Euro 2020 to England throw them off-balance.

"Tonight just wasn’t good enough," he added. "This defeat will not be the end of the world for us, of course it’s frustrating tonight, but we won’t let it get us down."

Germany will return to the scene of their last loss when they face England - already relegated to the B tier of the Nations League after a miserable post-Euros campaign - at Wembley Stadium on September 26.

Germany boss Hansi Flick has told his players to be cautious about socialising ahead of the World Cup to reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 and missing games.

Midfielder Leon Goretzka and captain Manuel Neuer have been ruled out of the Nations League games against Hungary and England after testing positive.

Those results followed their visit, as members of the Bayern Munich squad, to Oktoberfest celebrations last weekend.

It is unclear whether that was where the players caught the coronavirus, but social occasions give Flick cause for concern, albeit he is adamant that "life should also go on".

The Qatar 2022 World Cup is coming up in November and December, and Flick wants everyone available.

"This can also affect us in Qatar," said Flick. "We have to react to it and deal with the situation as best we can.

"It's not quite as easy as [saying] you should behave. We in the coaching team are also on the road a lot. Such cases are always annoying, but it's also become a normal situation.

"With a normal flu you also miss out. Covid is of course a bit more aggressive. Of course you have to reduce your contacts a little before the World Cup and consider, should I go there or not.

"You're on the road a lot. Life should also go on. We have to see that we keep it under control. But a certain normality with common sense, I think, is the right way."

Germany play Hungary on Friday and England on Monday, and Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen will get a chance to impress in the Hungary game in the absence of Neuer.

"I don't need to keep a secret about the goalkeeper position, Marc will be in goal," Flick said in Thursday's press conference.

Germany head coach Hansi Flick has expressed firm opposition to Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup, just two months out from the opening game.

Former Bayern Munich boss Flick will lead Germany into a major tournament for the first time, having taken over from Joachim Low after Germany's last-16 exit to England at Euro 2020.

Germany will face Japan, Spain and Costa Rica in Group E, with their first game to be played against Japan on November 23, three days after Qatar take on Ecuador in the opener.

Flick said in a German newspaper interview on Tuesday that the question of Qatar's bid being accepted as a justified one "should have been answered much earlier – with a no!".

He told the Suddeutsche Zeitung: "It is obvious that a lot is wrong in Qatar when it comes to human rights and sustainability."

The Arab country has faced external criticism for its treatment of migrant workers, as well as its record on women's rights and treatment of LGBTQ people.

Human rights campaigner Amnesty has called for migrant workers to be compensated for "suffering endured" in Qatar during preparations for the World Cup, calling for FIFA to support a 'remediation programme' and warning of the prospect of the tournament being "indelibly tainted by human rights abuses".

Flick has also expressed concern about a Qatar World Cup in the past.

Speaking in August, Flick said the World Cup would not be a tournament "for fans", and would instead go against his belief that "football should be there for everyone".

Given Qatar's limited accommodation facilities, the high costs involved in making the trip, and the move to the middle of the European club season, the competition has presented issues for fans, clubs and players, even beyond the moral debates.

Flick told the Frankfurter Rundschau: "[I have friends] who would like to fly to Qatar, but choose not to for a variety of reasons. Football should be there for everyone. That is why I say it is not a World Cup for fans."

Hansi Flick says there is still room for Mario Gotze and Mats Hummels to force their way into his Qatar 2022 World Cup thinking after they were omitted from Germany's final pre-tournament squad.

The duo were the headline absentees for September's final Nations League group stage games against Hungary and England, while Southampton defender Armel Bella-Kotchap earned his first call-up.

With Germany's World Cup opener against Japan just over two months away, Gotze – scorer of the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final – and Hummels are facing a race to make the cut.

But head coach Flick stressed there remains time for players to prove their worth as he referenced Gotze's impressive performances for Eintracht Frankfurt.

"The coaching team are already in World Cup mode," Flick stated on Thursday. "We have tremendous quality in attack, so it is difficult to get in there.

"[But] we're watching what Mario is doing. It's really good, and I'm very happy there. He looks mature. We knew he could play football. He has every chance if he keeps showing up to jump on the World Cup train.

"I liked Mat Hummels [for Dortmund against Manchester City]. He's in good shape, looks very fit. [But] if someone really delivers top performances...

"They have a good chance of being there. We've 21 field players in the current squad so at least two positions are open."

Defensive pairing Matthias Ginter and Robin Gosens, along with Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen, were among those recalled after missing June's international fixtures.

Oliver Baumann, Benjamin Henrichs, Lukas Klostermann and Jonathan Tah have all been dropped from the squad for the Nations League, where Germany sit a point behind Group A3 leaders Hungary.

Germany squad: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt); Armel Bella-Kotchap (Southampton), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Robin Gosens (Inter), Thilo Kehrer (West Ham), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Niklas Sule (Borussia Dortmund); Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Jonas Hofmann (Borussia Monchengladbach), Lukas Nmecha (Wolfsburg) Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich); Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Kai Havertz (Chelsea), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich).

The Qatar World Cup is not a tournament "for fans", says Germany coach Hansi Flick, who believes "football should be there for everyone".

The latest staging of the flagship tournament has been the source of much controversy since it was awarded to Qatar in 2010.

The nation's stance towards women and the LGBTQ+ community was widely pointed to as a problem from the outset, while the deaths of thousands of migrant workers have been reported during preparation for the finals.

Given Qatar's limited accommodation facilities and the move to the middle of the European club season, the competition has presented issues for both fans and players, even beyond those moral debates.

And Flick had supporters in mind as he added his voice to those criticising the 2022 World Cup.

"Basically, I think it is a shame that this tournament will not be a World Cup for fans," he told the Frankfurter Rundschau.

"[I have friends] who would like to fly to Qatar, but choose not to for a variety of reasons. Football should be there for everyone. That is why I say it is not a World Cup for fans."

But Flick recognised making a direct political statement of protest was "a challenge for everyone involved", adding: "We have already had many discussions.

"We will sit down again in September and consider what we can do together with other nations – or want to do."

Flick will lead Germany into a major tournament for the first time after succeeding Joachim Low after a last-16 exit to England at Euro 2020.

They will face Japan, Spain and Costa Rica in Group E, with their first game to be played against the Samurai Blue on November 23.

 

Miroslav Klose pointed to the influence of Hansi Flick on his fledgling touchline career as the World Cup record-breaker began his first job as a head coach.

Germany great Klose has taken over as boss of Austrian Bundesliga team SCR Altach. The player whose career haul of 16 World Cup goals remains unmatched was presented to the media on Monday.

The 44-year-old Klose had a spell as an assistant with the Germany national team during Joachim Low's tenure, and worked at Bayern Munich under Flick in the 2020-21 campaign, having previously spent two years with the Bavarians' under-17 team.

Bayern won the Bundesliga, DFL-Supercup, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup trophies in the season when Klose was involved in the first-team squad. Flick then departed to become Germany boss, and Klose also left.

"I learned a lot from Flick, he's fantastic in every respect," Klose said.

Altach narrowly avoided relegation in the 2021-22 season, and Klose's impact will be closely watched.

He said: "I'm incredibly happy. I am full of anticipation and have been received in a very friendly manner. I'm able to work where others go on holiday.

"I have a lot of hard work ahead of me. It is important the team shows heart and passion. We have to work out everything step by step, so it's also important that the team communicates with me."

Klose said he would allow himself "time to develop" as a coach, declaring the team must have targets without yet identifying those.

"I don't know how fast that will go. But I think it's incredibly important to have goals," Klose said. "I put myself under a lot of pressure. I have clear ideas. It will be a tough road. I probably need to lower my expectations."

Klose won 137 caps and scored a record 71 goals in a distinguished Germany career, in which he reached the finals of the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2008, before helping Die Mannschaft win the World Cup in 2014.

The winner of the Golden Shoe at the 2006 tournament on home soil also played elite club football with Bayern, Lazio, Kaiserslautern and Werder Bremen.

Former Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has backed Germany to win the World Cup in Qatar later this year due to Hansi Flick's swift impression at the helm.

The 2014 winners became the third defending champion in a row to be eliminated at the group stages in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, following on from the previous early exits of Spain in 2014 and Italy in 2010.

Joachim Löw retained his managerial position, with his contract due to last until after the Qatar World Cup, but requested an early end to his spell last year and departed his position following the European Championships.

While Low's 15-year stint in charge heralded success, a poor final year saw Germany smashed 6-0 by Spain in the Nations League before exiting Euro 2020 at the hands of England after a 2-0 defeat in the last 16 of the competition.

Flick took charge in September last year and led to an immediate improvement, becoming the first Germany boss in history to win their first six matches and comfortably securing qualification for this year's World Cup.

A drubbing of Italy in the Nations League on Tuesday once again displayed Germany's credentials and Schwarzer believes they're the team to beat in November when the World Cup begins.

"I think this World Cup, Germany with Hansi Flick at the helm, are genuine favourites and I say that Germany is generally always regarded as one of the teams that could go and do something," he told Stats Perform.

"But they're, for me, stood right up there with being a genuine favourite of winning this World Cup because they've got an amazing manager.

"Someone that's got the belief and support of all the players and has changed the German national team literally overnight exactly like he did with Bayern Munich when he took over after Nico Kovac had a disastrous period at Bayern the season, and then go on to win everything that's possibly there to win. 

"I've got a feeling he's able to do the same thing with Germany right now."

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