Attributed the shortest odds of all the Brazil-bound European teams to win the World Cup, Germany were largely unimpressive in their penultimate pre-tournament friendly.
Their match with Cameroon ended 2-2 with the 11/2 third-favourites having to come from a goal down before squandering a lead late on.
Myriad attacking midfielders in their ranks are undermined by a distinct lack of striking options to convert the many chances their creative forces conjure and this alone makes them a sensible side to swerve in the outright betting stakes ahead of the competition’s curtain-raiser.
Here are three more things die Mannschaft’s inability to dominate the Indomitable Lions told us punters:
Thomas Muller will be their top scorer.
After sharing the Golden Boot in his maiden tournament, Muller will be expected to shoulder the bulk of the goalscoring burden four years on.
Mario Gotze started as a makeshift frontman against Cameroon, but wasn’t anywhere near as effective in this expedient role.
He was substituted for Muller, who promptly binned the bagel the West Africans were hoping to stuff down their adversaries Gregorys.
Although not a natural centre-forward, the FC Bayern Munchen man is more capable of flourishing in this role than Gotze and with the rigours of the tournament likely to prove too tough for only genuine striking option Miroslav Klose, Muller will be the man Jogi Low tasks to fill in.
Back him to be the top scoring German at 13/4.
Per Mertesacker and Mats Hummels don’t provide the sturdiest of cores.
Hummels may be one of the most hyped stoppers on the global scene, but for all his ability in possession, legitimate questions can be raised over his defending prowess.
He isn’t the quickest either, but looks positively Usain Bolt-like next to Mertesacker.
Throughout qualifying they conceded an average of a goal per game and the better standard of opposition will capitalise on this generosity in South America.
Their lack of full-backs will also prove detrimental.
Rumours abound that skipper Phillip Lahm – the only non-converted full-back in their entire squad – may be moved into the holding midfield role he’s shone in at club level in 2013/14, on account of neither Bender brother being included.
Jerome Boateng will likely be starting right-back if this is the case, while former winger Erik Durm is the most obvious candidate to start on the left.
With square pegs wedged into the round holes flanking the brittle centre of their defence, it looks as though Germany’s defensive constraints are going to hamstring the best creative efforts of Mesut Ozil and co in the final third.