International Friendlies: Germany v Brazil combined XI
The 2014 World Cup Finalists meet at the Olympiastadion in Berlin tonight. Tite’s Selecao haven’t forgotten July 8, 2014, when 200 million Canarinho fans were stunned by the humiliating 7-1 loss on home soil. The match is now famously referred to as the Mineirazo, echoing the 1950 Final defeat to Uruguay known as the Maracanazo.
Joachim Low’s side will be without Marco Reus, Mario Gotze, Andre Schurrle, Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, and Mesut Ozil. The Brazilians would love to make a statement in their first meeting since that horrific result, although the more emphatic reply must come in a meaningful encounter.
Here’s a combined XI shaped in a 4-5-1 from the available players on both sides, featuring five from La Liga, three from the Bundesliga, two from the Premier League, and one from Ligue 1.
GK: Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Allison Becker and Ederson have made their marks this season but Barcelona's Ter Stegen is their match for skill and has the experience. The German has the ability to come forward as a third defender to help the team build from the back. He has kept 18 clean sheets and made 75 saves in just 29 games for the La Liga leaders.
RB: Joshua Kimmich
The Bayern full-back has been phenomenal since his national debut. Kimmich has scored 3 goals and assisted 12 times in Bundesliga this season. He was even named the German national player of the year 2017 in his last match. FIFA ranks him the world's best at his position. Dani Alves can make an impact but is past his prime. That has been evident with Paris Saint-Germain in 2018.
RCB: Mats Hummels
Hummels has taken to the heart of Bayern's defense as though he had never left to make his name at Borussia Dortmund. His tall physique makes him a punisher on the floor and in the air. He has managed to win more than 70% of his aerial duels since 2013. Niklas Sule is yet to find his feet in the national side. Jerome Boateng's consistency has suffered due to nagging injuries.
LCB: Thiago Silva
Critics derided his flaws in 2016-17 but Silva has silenced them with consistent performances in 2018. Les Parisiens' skipper is an imposing character on the field, possessing great discipline and technique. He has managed a 96% pass completion rate this season with an average of 70 passes per game. Criticise that.
Marcelo is the best left-back in the world. The Los Blancos star has been in the FIFPro World XI for three consecutive seasons, four in total. The floppy-haired Selecao patrols the left flank from end line to end line with a great sense of the game. He was out of form early this season. Who wasn’t for the Merengues? Die Mannschaft don't have anyone worth comparing.
DMs: Toni Kroos, Casemiro
The Blancos mates form a reliable midfield that can be deadly at the other end if you don't keep an eye. Kroos is every manager's delight, a beauty with his positioning and vision. His penchant for out-of-the-box goals sets him apart. Casemiro is a beast. Disney keeps making movies about these two, although they turn them into sappy romances.
Munich-bound Leon Goretzka has been in a sensational touch for a couple of seasons. But for him to find a place over the former Bayern midfielder, he has a long way to go. Fred and Talisca belong further up the pitch. Fernandinho is unlucky not to be picked, both in this squad and by Tite. The supposed European find of the season, Paulinho, has been inconsistent during the Global Brazil tour. After missing several clear-cut chances before finally netting off a brilliant cross from Willian against Russia, he certainly is not picked.
Willian has been fascinating for Antonio Conte’s Chelsea this season. Tite needs him to continue that run into the World Cup. He was beyond par in the friendly against the tournament hosts. An energetic playmaker with ridiculous finishing skills and amazing feints, who wouldn't want him in the lineup? Did you say you'd rather have a set-piece specialist? Please.
CAM: Philippe Coutinho
Coutinho has yet to find his mark at the Nou Camp but his capabilities are known to all. He is an archetypal playmaker, dangerous from any position across the pitch. With Thomas Muller released by the Germans, Coutinho has no competition for the no.10 role. Besides, it doesn't hurt to have two set-piece wizards.
LM: Leroy Sane
Sane has to be here. It should be a more difficult choice but Neymar is injured, Muller and Mesut Ozil were excluded from Germany's second match in the window. Low chose Julian Draxler over the City star in either a fit of madness or to assess what the little-used winger could give him in Russia. Sane is a very creative winger who has been a nightmare for Premier League defenders all season.
Striker: Timo Werner
Werner had a decent game against heavy-weights Spain last week. His raw pace and good dribbling attributes win him the starting job. Roberto Firmino is unlucky to come up against him. Gabriel Jesus is not yet match fit.