5 Bayern Munich players to watch out for in the World Cup
We're only two weeks away from the World Cup. Football's crème de la crème prepares to put everything on the line for the sake of national pride. Bayern Munich, an undisputed European heavyweight, will have 11 determined representatives in Russia.
Here are five Bayern players who will impress in the 2018 World Cup.
Throughout his career, Thiago Alcantara has been compared to Andres Iniesta and Xavi, two all-time greats.
Injuries, however, have hindered Thiago's progress over the years. This season, the 27-year-old featured in only half Bayern's league games. He scored twice and assisted seven times during 1851 minutes.
Russia is Thiago's opportunity to finally shine. He must deliver a memorable showing to justify the hype surrounding him. With Iniesta bowing out after the World Cup, a worthy Spanish midfielder must take up the torch.
Will Thiago Alcantara prove Iniesta's rightful successor, or is he destined to remain an unfulfilled potential?
The next Philipp Lahm? Joshua Kimmich doesn't believe so. Truth be told, the youngster deserves more than replica status. He's grown leaps and bounds this season, turning Bayern's right-back position into his own.
Much like Lahm, Kimmich originated from a defensive midfield position. The 23-year-old's confidence on the ball, clever positioning, tough tackling and disciplined surges forward made him a crucial component in Die Roten's title-winning philosophy. Such form has earned him a starting role with his country, too.
Since Lahm retired, Germany tried both Jonas Hector and Shkodran Mustafi at right-back. Kimmich's ability means Die Mannschaft can now rest assured that they no longer have a defensive deficiency.
There aren't many centre-forwards more competent than Robert Lewandowski. The 29-year-old netted 41 times in 48 competitive matches for Bayern this campaign.
On the international stage, Lewandowski is just as lethal. His 52 goals in 93 appearances make him Poland's all-time leading scorer.
Despite being a national treasure, with Wojciech Szczesny the only quality support, Lewandowski faces a tall order to fire his nation past the World Cup group stage.
Lewandowski intends to leave Munich this summer. A good tournament in Russia will ensure suitors line up for his services. Both Real Madrid and Chelsea have already identified the striker as a top target.
The world's top goalkeeper has endured a tough season. Multiple setbacks since September sidelined Bayern's Manuel Neuer for 236 days. He played only four games all campaign. Such is the 32-year-old's importance, though, he was still included in Low's World Cup squad.
Germany's second choice, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, has been in fine form this season. The Barcelona shot-stopper made 46 appearances, keeping an impressive 23 clean sheets. With that strong competition, performance in Russia will define whether Neuer retains his number one status.
Perhaps due to his unorthodox playing style and lack of dribbling ability, many do not seem to rate Thomas Muller too highly. Fortunately for the 28-year-old, Germany manager Joachim Low does.
Muller delivers when it matters most. In his World Cup career, he's scored ten goals, putting him only six strikes behind the competition's all-time top scorer Miroslav Klose.
Muller's unique ability to perform in any front-line position makes him even more special. His versatility and willingness to undertake any role mean he's an indispensable asset to Die Mannschaft.
For Germany to reach the international summit again, Muller must be at his very best.