Great Wall of Germany
The offense wins games. Defense wins championships. If that’s the case, Germany has a great chance of winning the 2022 World cup. It would be their fifth star, which means they would climb atop the podium to accompany Brazil.
Offensively, Die Mannschaft’s roster includes Thomas Muller, who has scored 10 goals in three World Cups. There are also Leroy Sane, Timo Werner, Serge Gnabry, and Karim Adeyemi. Defensively, there are Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule, Lukas Klostermann, and the figure to which we’ll dedicate this article: Manuel Neuer.
Considered one of the best goalkeepers in history, he’s set to play in its fourth WC.
Manuel Neuer signed his first professional contract in 2005. After four seasons with Schalke 04 II, he was promoted to the first team. Nevertheless, during that first season at the major leagues, he didn’t play a single match. He made his debut during the 2006-07 season on Matchday 2 of the Bundesliga.
One year later, he was already the starter. Plus, he led Schalke 04 to the UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals. Literally, because he saved two penalties against Porto in the previous round.
Bayern Munich started following him, but he remained at Schalke until the 2010-11 season. During that final season, the Royal Blues reached the UCL Semifinals and won the DFB Pokal. Some other powerhouses showed interest as well, but he decided to stay in Germany, signing a multi-year contract with the Star of the South set to start in the 2011-12 season.
When Neuer arrived, Bayern Munich had 10 years without winning the UCL. In his first season, the team reached the Final but lost to Chelsea. The following season, they returned to the Grand Finale and defeated Borussia Dortmund. He made eight saves.
Domestically, Neuer has led Bayern to the title every single season but one. Dortmund won the title during his first season in Munich.
Overall, his track record with Bayern is impressive:
- Bundesliga x10
- DFB Pokal x5
- UEFA Champions League x2
- UEFA Super Cup x2
- FIFA Club World Cup x2
Individually, he was named The Best FIFA Men’s Goalkeeper in 2020. In 2014, he finished third in the voting for the FIFA Ballon d’Or award behind Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, becoming the first goalkeeper to climb up to the podium since 2006 (Gianluigi Buffon).
He recently signed a contract extension with Bayern up to 2024, so he could still add a couple of more prizes.
With Die Mannschaft
Neuer was vital for Germany to win the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. He kept a clean sheet in the Grand Finale, in which they defeated England 4-0. It didn’t take long for him to be called up to the senior team. He proved his worth and became the starter for the 2010 WC. Germany advanced all the way into the Semifinals, finally losing 1-0 to Spain.
Four years later, in Brazil, Die Mannschaft won its fourth star by defeating Argentina 1-0 in the Grand Finale. Overall, Neuer and the defense only allowed four goals. They held France to zero, Brazil to one, to name a few.
Neuer and Germany didn’t meet expectations at Russia 2018 as they were eliminated during the Group Stage.
He has also played in three editions of the European Championship. In 2012, he contributed to reaching the Semifinals, in which they lost 2-1 to Italy. In 2016, they were the betting online favorites to win the Gold, but once again ended up losing at the Semifinals, this time 2-0 against France. Most recently, in the 2020 edition, they were eliminated by England in the Round of 16.
Germany in Qatar 2022
Neuer and Germany will face Spain, Costa Rica, and Japan in Group E. Die Mannschaft is offering a +120 price in the sportsbook to win the group. Spain comes in as the favorite thanks to a -120 price. On the other hand, Germany is also offering a +400 price to reach the final. Die Mannschaft has reached the Grand Finale eight times so it wouldn’t be wise to underestimate them.
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