World champions Germany get the defence of their title underway against Marco Fabian’s Mexico at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday (kick-off: 5pm CEST/4pm BST/11am ET) with captain Manuel Neuer returning to form and fitness at just the right time.

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The Bayern Munich shot-stopper broke his foot twice in the 2017/18 campaign and was restricted to just three Bundesliga appearances – each of them clean sheets – as the record champions sealed their 28th German top-flight title. Having played a combined 135 minutes in Die Mannschaft’s recent friendlies with Austria and Saudi Arabia, the 32-year-old will lead his team out against Mexico with Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen acting as first understudy. Leroy Sane was perhaps the most surprising omission when coach Joachim Löw announced his final 23-man squad for the tournament, but with Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus – like Neuer – back to his best, the Manchester City winger’s absence could well prove to be negligible.

If Germany were impressive in winning all 10 of their games in UEFA qualifying section, Mexico were not far behind. El Tri only lost one of their 12 games in the CONCACAF zone – their final one, against Honduras, when qualification was already assured. In Fabian and Carlos Salcedo, Mexico boast two players who lifted the DFB Cup with Eintracht Frankfurt, at Bayern’s expense, in May. The pair are expected to start, with former Bayer Leverkusen favourite Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez leading the line.

Watch: Manuel Neuer’s Top 5 saves!

Probable line-ups

Germany: Neuer (c) – Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Hector – Kroos, Khedira – Müller, Özil, ReusWerner
Subs: ter Stegen, Ginter, Plattenhardt, Rüdiger, Süle, Brandt, Draxler, Goretzka, Gündogan, Rudy, Gomez, Trapp
Absentees: N/A
Coach: Joachim Löw

Mexico: Ochoa – Salcedo, Reyes, Moreno, Layun – Marquez, Guardado (c) – Vela, Herrera, Fabian – Chicharito
Subs: Telavera, Alvarez, Ayala, Gallardo, Aquino, G. dos Santos, J. dos Santos, Corona, Jimenez, Lozano, Peralta
Absentees: N/A
Coach: Juan Carlos Osorio

*Bundesliga players in bold

Match stats

  • Bayern forward Thomas Müller has 10 World Cup goals to his name, the most of any active player.
  • Germany have played Mexico 13 times, winning six, with six draws and just one defeat.
  • The last time the sides met was in the Confederations Cup semi-finals in Russia last June. Germany won 4-1, with Fabian scoring Mexico’s consolation.
  • The teams have met once before at the World Cup, with Germany prevailing 2-1 at France ’98, former USA coach Jürgen Klinsmann and current Germany Team Manager Oliver Bierhoff scoring in Montpellier.
  • This is Germany’s 19th World Cup and they have reached at least the quarter-finals in each of the past nine editions, making it to at least the semi-finals at every competition since 2002.
  • Former Leverkusen forward Chicharito is Mexico’s all-time leading goalscorer with 49 goals.

Live updates

Click here to read about Germany’s record against EVERY team at the World Cup!


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