Germany finalise World Cup squad
Germany coach Joachim Low has officially announced the 23 players who will be flying to Brazil to take part in the World Cup for the German national team. The side, who have waited 18 years to win an international accolade, are amongst the bookmakers favourites to secure World Cup success.
Amongst the surprises in Low's selection include his decision to take just one striker, with Lazio forward Miroslav Klose the only out and out striker to go to Brazil. Arsenal forward Lukas Podolski will offer an attacking outlet for the Germans, whilst Bayern Munich star Thomas Muller still offers a significant attacking threat.
Just yesterday, coach Joachim Low had voiced his disapproval at Mesut Ozil's current form - which was certainly evident during the second half of Arsenal's campaign - yet that has still not dissuaded the long serving coach to take the former Real Madrid star to Brazil. Other midfielders amongst Low's squad include Mario Goetze, Marco Reus and Arsenal target Julian Draxler. The only major surprise in midfield is the inclusion of young Christoph Kramer, who plays as a defensive midfielder for Borussia Monchengladbach. Chelsea midfielder Andre Schurrle, Real Madrid's Sami Khedira and Matthias Ginter complete the midfield line up. Unfortunately for Germany, Lars Bender missed out on the World Cup and will be left at home.
Loew has selected team captain Philipp Lahm to spearhead his defence, whilst Gunners' centre back Per Mertesacker is joined by Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Erik Durm, Benedikt Howedes and versatile Dortmund star Kevin Grosskreutz.
In goal, Manuel Neuer is likely to start, and he is supported by Roman Weidenfeller and Ron-Robert Zieler.
Ladbrokes, has analysed this year's World Cup data and have created a tool that will allow users to pit any two teams that have qualified for the showpiece tournament to compete against each other and compare results in previous meetings between their national sides.