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2018 FIFA World Cup Germany squad guide, full fixtures, group and key players

Can Germany avoid the defending champions' curse at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia?

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Germany National Team play Can Germany avoid the defending champions' curse at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia? (AFP/Getty Images)

Reigning champions Germany are one of the favourites for the 2018 World Cup and while they have not been devastating in recent friendly games, the only thing counting against them is history.

No country has succeeded in defending the World Cup title since Brazil did in 1962 and performances of the reigning champions in recent tournaments are enough to worry Germany.

Captain: Manuel Neuer

Manager: Joachim Low

Nickname: Die Mannschaft

FIFA World Cup history: 19 appearances, winners in 1954, 1974, 1990, 2014

Fixtures

Germany Vs Mexico

Germany Vs Sweden

Germany Vs South Korea

Key Men

1. Timo Werner

Regarded as the heir to Germany's record goalscorer Miroslav Klose, Timo Werner already boasts vast Bundesliga experience and a tendency to deliver on the big occasions. The 22-year-old was the top scorer at last year's Confederations Cup, won by Germany, and a return of seven goals in 12 appearances since his international debut in March 2017 suggests he will be a mainstay in the national team for the next decade. Armed with searing pace -- he was clocked running 100 metres in 11.1 seconds -- the RB Leipzig forward is a constant threat on the counter and thrives by hanging on the shoulder of the last defender. A deep run by Germany in Russia could set Werner up for a shot at the tournament's golden boot.

2. Mesut Ozil

Despite a poor season at Arsenal, Ozil still remains a very important player for Germany. He is one of the players that is considered irreplaceable in the team.

He is the heart of everything Joachim Low is planning for Russia and fixes the pieces together of a very talented and structured side.

Squad

Goalkeeper:Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona), Kevin Trapp (Paris Saint-Germain), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

Defenders: Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Niklas Sule (Bayern Munich), Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha Berlin), Jonas Hector (Koln)

Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal)

Forwards: Julian Draxler (Paris Saint-Germain), Timo Werner (Red Bull Leipzig), Mario Gomez (Stuttgart), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)

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