Germany, a four-time World Cup champion, will kick up their FIFA World Cup 2022 campaign in Qatar on November 23 against Japan. Germany will not be reflecting on their performance in Russia 2018 as they prepare to begin their campaign against Japan in 2022.
Japan has only won one of its last eight World Cup games, but that victory over Colombia in their tournament opener in Russia was enough to get them to the round of 16 the last time around.
Since this will be Hansi Flick's first significant match as Germany's manager, he'll want to make sure his team makes a good first impression. With only two victories in nine games, Flick's team hasn't exactly wowed anyone with its performance in 2022.
Hajime Moriyasu's team have never advanced past the first round in consecutive world cups, a historical trend that Japan would like to break this time around despite having appeared in seven straight finals and having a lot of experience on the international stage. Out of their 22 overall FIFA World Cup appearances, the Samurai Blue have advanced to the Round of 16 seven times.
German confidence hasn't been boosted by their abysmal record of just two victories in their previous eight games. As fellow four-time winner Italy are not competing, Germany can tie Brazil for the most World Cup triumphs with five if they win the tournament in Qatar. It won't be simple to beat a group that consists of Spain, Japan, and Costa Rica, though, if recent results are any indicator.
Japan has a record of losing in the group stage before moving on to the round of 16 in its six World Cup appearances since 1998. However, qualifying with a record 58 goals and 15 victories out of 18 is undoubtedly positive for Japan.
Germany has won both of their previous meetings with Japan, winning 3-0 in a friendly in 2004 and drawing 2-2 in another exhibition game two years later. The four-time world cup champions have never faced Japan in a competitive match, but this shouldn't come as a huge surprise.
Thomas Muller has been the standout performer for Germany at previous competitions since making his World Cup debut in 2010, scoring 10 goals and providing six assists in 16 games. The attention will be on Youssoufa Moukoko, the youngest player in the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar and arguably the most promising young German prospect since Jamal Musiala's rise to stardom at Bayern, so Muller may not be a lock to start.
Takumi Minamino will play in his first world cup despite having been named to Japan's preliminary team as far back as Brazil 2014. Minamino was the key player for Japan during qualifying with 10 goals and 4 assists. During the finals, he hopes to maintain this form.
Germany will play with intent in the opening game because they won't risk running into Spain to advance. Despite a strong performance from Japan, anticipate a 3-0 victory for the German team.