Coming off the back of a Euro 2016 semi-final exit in a competition they were favourites for, Germany are at risk of becoming a side without a purpose.
A 2-0 defeat at the hands of an Antoine Greizmann inspired France in the Euro 2016 semifinal stage has left the German national team with more questions than answers.
A side with an undeniably strong spine, one of, if not the strongest in the world. Joachim Low’s team has looked weak in the wide areas and toothless up top.
The likes of Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira have ensured that Germany’s central areas are incredibly well endowed. However, there are shortcomings in other departments.
Having to rely on Benedikt Howedes, a central defender, and Joshua Kimmich, a central midfielder, at right back has been a cause for concern ever since Phillip Lahm hung up his international boots after the 2014 World Cup win.
Both have deputised well in the full-back position for club and country, yet, neither of them are near the level of Bayern Munich legend Lahm.
Similarly, Die Mannschaft have struggled to replace the goals of Miroslav Klose, after the Poland-born poacher retired at the same time as Lahm.
Playing a false 9, Thomas Muller or Mario Gomez, Low has struggled to find that cutting edge striker since Klose retired in 2014. Lacking a Greizmann, Cristiano Ronaldo or a Robert Lewandowski, they have struggled in big games to finish chances.
Another unfortunate problem in the German squad is the injury vows of their best winger Marco Reus. The Borussia Dortmund star has missed out on the last two tournaments through injury, creating real problems for Low.
Reus’ replacements Mario Gotze, Julian Draxler and Kevin Volland have stagnated since the 2014 World Cup win. All three have made poor choices with regards to transfers and their careers have taken a hit as a result.
However, this could all change this season as Gotze has returned to Dortmund and looks like he could be heading back to his pre-Bayern Munich form. Similarly, Draxler and Volland are coming off seasons that have shown signs of the pair living up to their sky-high potential.
These three could be big players as Germany aim to navigate through Group C, a group that they should comfortably progress from.
Germany could, and should, conceivably gather the maximum 30 points from the group stage, leaving qualifying open to experimentation from Low.
Finding a right-back, winger and most importantly a goal scorer will be the real test for the Germans in qualifying. Find all three to the level of the likes of Phillip Lahm, Marco Reus and Miroslav Klose and Germany will be favourites for the controversial World Cup in Russia in 2018.