Germany will be in Pot 2 for Friday’s World Cup 2022 group stage draw, meaning they are set to face one of the heavyweights from Pot 1 at the first hurdle in Qatar later this year.
Die Mannschaft are not regarded as one of the top seeded nations, as they are currently 12th in the FIFA world rankings, meaning they cannot be drawn against Denmark, Netherlands, Mexico, USA, Switzerland, Croatia or Uruguay, who are alongside them in Pot 2.
There are, however, plenty of other high-profile nations in Pots 1, 3 and 4 who could prove to be challenging opponents in the group stage.
Here, Sports Mole looks at the best and worst-case scenarios for Hansi Flick’s side ahead of Friday’s draw.
GROUP: Qatar, Germany, Tunisia, New Zealand
On paper, Germany’s easiest draw could see them come up against tournament hosts Qatar, Tunisia and New Zealand, the latter of whom are yet to seal their place at this year’s World Cup.
Qatar – ranked 51st in the world – are notably the weakest nation who have been included in Pot 1, and as they are to stage the world’s most prestigious international football event, they are the only nation who have not had to qualify for the 2022 edition.
The last time the West Asian nation competed competitively was in the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup, in which they progressed from the group stage before reaching the semi-finals, where they were beaten 1-0 by eventual winners USA.
Meanwhile, Tunisia scraped past Mali with a 1-0 aggregate win in the third round of AFCON Qualifying to advance to their second consecutive World Cup.
The Eagles of Carthage – who are ranked 35th in the world, which is the lowest of any nation in Pot 3 – have only faced Germany once in their history, losing 3-0 in Cologne at the 2005 Confederations Cup.
Ranked 101st in the world, the lowest of any nation in Friday’s draw, New Zealand would arguably be the easiest opponent the Germans could face from Pot 4. The All Whites progressed from the OFC qualifiers but they must now beat Costa Rica in an intercontinental playoff final to book their place in Qatar.
Should New Zealand fail to qualify for this year’s tournament, then either the United Arab Emirates or Australia could be Germany’s next best opponent to face from Pot 4, though they must first face each other and then the winners would need to beat Peru in an intercontinental playoff final to qualify for the World Cup.
GROUP: England, Germany, Senegal, Canada
Aside from Qatar, Pot 1 is made up of the top seven ranked nations, all of whom could cause problems on their day against Germany.
While the likes of five-time winners Brazil and current holders France are standout nations Die Mannschaft will be keen to avoid, facing Gareth Southgate’s England side could prove to be the most difficult challenge of all in the group stage.
The Three Lions, who are regarded as one of the favourites to go all the way this year, ended a 55-year wait for a knockout victory over the Germans at a major tournament when they won 2-0 in the last 16 at Euro 2020, before going all the way to the final.
With 13 European countries at this year’s tournament, UEFA are the only confederation who can have more than one nation in any World Cup group, so if Germany were drawn against a European nation from Pot 1, a potential showdown with Robert Lewandowski’s Poland or Serbia from Pot 3 could not happen.
However, Germany could be drawn against Africa Cup of Nations holders Senegal, who are ranked 20th in the world and are seemingly the strongest nation allocated into Pot 3.
The Lions of Teranga – who boast star names within their squad including Sadio Mane, Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy – edged past Egypt on penalties in a playoff qualifier to advance to their second successive World Cup.
From Pot 4, Canada could prove to be a stern test for Germany; the Reds have come on leaps and bounds as a footballing nation, rising from 117th in the world rankings in 2016 to their current position of 38th, their second-highest ever FIFA ranking.
Canada will be competing at their first World Cup since 1986 after impressing in CONCACAF Qualifying, finishing top of the table ahead of the USA and Mexico. A potential reunion for Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies with a number of his German club teammates could be on the cards if the Canadians are drawn with Flick’s side.
FIFA WORLD CUP SEEDINGS:
Pot 1: Qatar, Belgium, Brazil, France, Argentina, England, Spain, Portugal
Pot 2: Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Mexico, USA, Switzerland, Croatia, Uruguay
Pot 3: Senegal, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, South Korea, Tunisia
Pot 4: Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Ghana, Cameroon, Canada, Peru or Australia/UAE, New Zealand/Costa Rica, Wales or Scotland/Ukraine