HomeSportsThe Germany team that should play at the 2026 World Cup

    The Germany team that should play at the 2026 World Cup

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    Germany crashed out in the group stages of the World Cup for the second time in a row in Qatar after losing their opening game to Japan.

    They weren’t quite as bad as their failure to make it out of their group would suggest, bouncing back fairly well after their defeat to Japan, drawing with Spain and beating Costa Rica.

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    Nevertheless, big improvements are needed if they’re to become world champions again in 2026, but they do have plenty of young players coming through who can improve their chances of doing so.

    Here’s how Germany could line up at the World Cup in North America.

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    GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen – Ter Stegen has had to play second fiddle to Manuel Neuer for a long time now, but will surely get his chance in 2026 with the Bayern Munich man 40 at that point. Ter Stegen himself will be 34 but most likely still a better goalkeeper than any younger ones.

    RB: Ridle Baku – Right-back is a real weakness for Germany at the moment, but Baku could change that. The 24-year-old has impressed at Wolfsburg for the last few years and should become a top player barring any injuries.

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    CB: Antonio Rudiger – Rudiger will have only just turned 33 when the next World Cup comes around and so should still be a top centre-back, adding some experience and leadership to what will presumably be a fairly young German side, although Niklas Sule and Armel Bella-Kotchap could be in the mix to start too.

    CB: Nico Schlotterbeck – Currently 23, Schlotterbeck should be entering his best years in 2026 and judging by how good he is now, the Borussia Dortmund player could well be one of the best central defenders in the world at that point, let alone his nation’s best.

    LB: David Raum – Raum was one of the few bright sparks for Germany in Qatar, impressing as the first-choice left-back, and at only 24 that spot should be the RB Leipzig player’s for years to come now, although he could some competition from Luca Netz if he lives up to the hype.

    Jamal Musiala, Joshua Kimmich

    Kimmich and Musiala already know each other well / Marvin Ibo Guengoer – GES Sportfoto/GettyImages

    CM: Joshua Kimmich – Kimmich is one of the best midfielders around right now and should still be at the next World Cup with the Bayern Munich player only 27 now. If fit, he’ll surely be one of the first names on the teamsheet.

    CM: Jamal Musiala – Who will take the other midfield spot is less clear. It won’t be Ilkay Gundogan who will be 35 by then, and it could well be Leon Goretzka, but we’ll give it to his Bayern Munich team-mate Musiala. The 19-year-old was his nation’s best player in Qatar playing as a winger, but don’t be surprised to see him play further back in the coming years, running the show for club and country.

    RW: Karim Adeyemi – Ayeyemi hasn’t made the best start to life at Borussia Dortmund but the 20-year-old was stunning for RB Salzburg last season and should make big strides as a player between now and 2026. He’s best as a striker but can play on the right too and is perhaps most useful there for his country given the players they have at their disposal.

    Youssoufa Moukoko

    Moukoko is set for big things / Alexander Hassenstein/GettyImages

    AM: Florian Wirtz – Wirtz is one of the most exciting young players in the world and would have played for Germany in Qatar despite being just 19 if he was fully fit. Assuming he is in 2026, he’ll most likely start as their number 10 ahead of Kai Havertz and be one of their most important players.

    LW: Serge Gnabry – Gnabry will be 30 by the 2026 World Cup and shouldn’t be far past his best if at all. The same can be said for Leroy Sane and the two may well be battling it out for a spot in the starting XI as they are at Bayern Munich now. Both could claim one if Adeyemi doesn’t develop as hoped, but assuming that isn’t the case, Gnabry just about gets the nod for us.

    ST: Youssoufa Moukoko – The fact that Moukoko went to the World Cup in Qatar despite being just 17 shows just how big a talent he is. He has six goals and four assists in 12 starts for Borussia Dortmund this season and looks all but certain to become one of the most lethal goalscorers in the world and the best Germany have had in a long, long time. If you support them, be excited, and if you don’t, be afraid.

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