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World Cup Fantasy Preview: Germany

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Joachim Low has narrowed his squad down to 26 players, and it isn't an enviable job to have to select a further three to drop, with the German team stacked with stars. They'll be favorites to lead the way out of a tough Group G regardless of who makes the final cut.

Will the Germans be celebrating all the way to the final? They definitely have one of the most talented squads.
Will the Germans be celebrating all the way to the final? They definitely have one of the most talented squads.
Thomas Niedermueller

The roster as it stands now includes the majority of the names we've become familiar with in the past couple years of Germany's international success, with Mario Gomez (selection) and Lars Bender (injury) two of the most notable absentees. Here's the group that traveled to Brazil for the final training camp:

Goalkeepers

Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Roman Weidenfeller (Borussia Dortmund), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover)

Defenders

Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Erik Durm (Borussia Dortmund), Kevin Grosskreutz (Borussia Dortmund), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), Shkodran Mustafi (Sampdoria), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielders

Julian Draxler (Schalke), Matthias Ginter (Freiburg), Mario Gotze (Bayern Munich), Christoph Kramer (Borussia Monchengladbach), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund), Andre Schurrle (Chelsea), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich)

Forwards

Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Kevin Volland (Hoffenheim), Lukas Podolski (Arsenal)

Fantasy Players To Watch

Manuel Neuer - The keeper has firmly established himself as one of the top keepers in the world, and with the incredible defense he'll have in front of him he should be a favorite for clean sheets and wins in the tournament. Arrived late to training camp after a shoulder injury, but should be clear to play by the first match against Portugal June 16.

Philipp Lahm - It seems like he's been around forever, but the defender is still only 30 and will captain his national team in Brazil. He has all the qualities you'd want in a fullback (sans height) and should rack up some attacking points in addition to his defensive returns.

Mario Gotze - Joining Bayern Munich from Borussia Dortmund at the beginning of the season, the creative midfielder scored 10 goals in 27 appearances for the champions. Gotze continued his goalscoring form during World Cup qualifying, netting an additional 4 goals.

Mesut Ozil - After a bright start to his Arsenal career, the German playmaker's form sputtered as the season came to a close. However, his return to the team in the final few games showed some of his promise. Die Mannschaft's leading goalscorer in qualifying with 8 goals (including 2 penalties), Ozil should be involved in many of the attacking moves for his team.

Marco Reus - The heir to Mario Gotze's role as star player in the Dortmund side, the versatile midfielder is capable of playing through the middle or on the wing, and has contributed 4 goals to his national side's qualification efforts. His pace and technique will cause lots of problems for opposition defenses.

Thomas Muller - Another extremely versatile attacker, the 24 year-old has a ton of international experience despite his young age. He can play as a striker, in central midfield or as a winger, and has a history of coming up big in international tournaments. Could operate as a false 9 in matches where Low chooses to operate without a traditional striker.

Miroslav Klose - Speaking of traditional strikers, an international tournament without Miro just wouldn't feel right, and Jogi Low seems to agree, choosing him over Mario Gomez. The Lazio striker will be 36 when the tournament starts, but his age hasn't stopped him from continuing his prolific goalscoring, including a 5-goal performance against Bologna this season. He only needs one goal to tie the all time World Cup scoring record set by Ronaldo (Brazil). You wouldn't bet against him breaking that record in his final tournament.