This is what the German squad could look like at the 2026 World Cup

Shortly after the bitter defeat at the European Championship in their own country, national coach Julian Nagelsmann looked ahead again: “That hurts. And having to wait two years to become world champions hurts too.” Many German fans felt the same way. Despite all the disappointment, there is one thing we can take away: when was the last time the Germans left a World Cup or European Championship with so much anticipation for the next tournament?

However, much will have to change before that happens. The average age of all German players used was 29.07, making the DFB team the oldest team in the tournament. However, some youngsters such as Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz were already established names in this tournament. Others such as Maximilian Beier will certainly take on bigger roles in two years. Still others will be new additions.

We take a look at what the German national team could look like at the 2026 World Cup and make a prediction.

Have we seen Manuel Neuer’s last appearance in the DFB shirt? The five-time world number one goalkeeper did not reveal his cards after the European Championship elimination. “I’m taking my time with the decision, it doesn’t have to happen in the next one or two days and it doesn’t have to happen in the next six months. I have time,” said Neuer.

The 2014 world champion is now 39 years old and even before the tournament there was a discussion whether Neuer was still the right man for the German goal. In 2026 he would be 41 years old.

90min forecast: Neuer’s time will definitely be over in 2026. Marc-André ter Stegen will enter the tournament as number one for the first time. His reserve will be Alexander Nübel, who will return to FC Bayern in 2026 after another two seasons on loan at VfB Stuttgart. A talented player will be number three. U21 goalkeeper Noah Atubolu (SC Freiburg) is our choice. Other candidates are Jonas Urbig (1. FC Köln) and Diant Ramaj (Ajax Amsterdam).

90min selection 2026: Marc Andre ter Stegen, Alexander Nübel, Noah Atubolu

The only part of the team that didn’t have any players under 24. Nico Schlotterbeck was the youngest player and his role will probably grow before the World Cup. Furthermore, there are many questions about the players’ performances in two years. Will Antonio Rüdiger still be playing at the top level at 33? How fit will Jonathan Tah be if he possibly moves to FC Bayern? Will Waldemar Anton and Maxi Mittelstädt confirm their strong seasons in Stuttgart? Will Joshua Kimmich remain at right back until then and if so, how good will he still be at 31, given that he often lacks pace?

90min forecast: If Pepe can still be a regular player in a tournament at 41, Rüdiger can do the same at 33. He and Schlotterbeck form the central defender duo, with Kimmich remaining a regular on the right. On the left, David Raum retains the regular place he earned during the European Championship. His back-up will be one of the players making his debut between the European Championship and the World Cup: Max Finkgräfe from Cologne.

Selection 90min 2026: Joshua Kimmich, Benjamin Henrichs, Nico Schlotterbeck, Antonio Rüdiger, Jonathan Tah, Malick Thiaw, Waldemar Anton, David Raum, Max Finkgräfe

The midfield could see the biggest shake-up, especially in the defensive positions. Kroos has ended his career, Gündogan seems to be continuing, but will be 35 in 2026. There are a number of talented players coming up, notably Aleksandar Pavlovic, who was actually already nominated for the European Championship and only missed out due to an infection, and Angelo Stiller. Nagelsmann mentioned both players as possible successors to Kroos.

In the attacking midfield, however, two places are certainly occupied. Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala are absolute key players in the DFB team for the near future. At 30, Leroy Sané is still an option to complement the youngsters, as is Brajan Gruda from Mainz. The 20-year-old was invited by Nagelsmann to take part in the preparation for the European Championship. Certainly a foretaste of what is to come. Maximilian Beier showed his potential in two short appearances in the preparation against Ukraine and Switzerland. He will get considerably more playing time in the next two years.

90min forecast: If we ask Pavlovic or Stiller, we give the answer: both. The duo is the future of the double six. On paper, they complement each other well, they are both characterized by their calmness on the ball and their strong overview.

Maximilian Beier complements Wirtz and Musiala in the attacking three-man line. His speed will be good for the German game. Gruda and Sané are the first options from the bench.

Squad 90min 2026: Aleksandar Pavlovic, Angelo Stiller, Anton Stach, Robert Andrich, Rocco Reitz, Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, Brajan Gruda, Leroy Sané, Maximilian Beier, Chris Führich

Havertz or Füllkrug is the constant debate at this European Championship. The national coach trusted Havertz and a change of course after the tournament is not to be expected. Especially since Havertz will probably gain more experience in the number nine position at Arsenal in the two years between the tournaments and Füllkrug is not getting any younger. The BVB striker will be 33 in 2026.

90min forecast: Havertz will also be a regular player in 2026. His reserve will not be Füllkrug, but Nick Woltemade, who already broke through at VfB Stuttgart. Lücke will still be there, firstly for the atmosphere in the team, and secondly to have his strength as an option from the bench.

90min-Frame 2026: Kai Havertz, Nick Woltemade, Niclas Füllkrug

Marc-André ter Stegen – Joshua Kimmich, Antonio Rüdiger, Nico Schlotterbeck, David Raum – Aleksandar Pavlovic, Angelo Stiller – Maximilian Beier, Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala – Kai Havertz

Read everything you need to know about the 2024 European Championship:

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