Five Things to Know about Germany

Watch: USA-Germany on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 3 p.m. ET (TNT, Telemundo, Peacock, FDP radio)
By: Michael Lewis

As part of the long-term strategic plan to prepare for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. Men's National Team takes on four-time World Cup champion Germany in an international friendly. Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. will host the match on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 3 p.m. ET (TNT, Telemundo, Peacock, FDP radio).

The USA, 11th in the FIFA rankings, enters the match on a 13-match unbeaten run. The team hasn't lost since a 2-1 defeat to Serbia on Jan. 25.

The Americans are coming off two clean sheet friendly victories, having bested Uzbekistan on Sept. 9, 3-0, and then Oman, 4-0, three days later.

In its second game of the September international window, the U.S. will host Ghana in another friendly in Nashville, Tenn. on Tuesday, Oct. 17, while the Germans will travel to Philadelphia to face Mexico on the same night.

FOOTBALLING HISTORY

Germany has helped define international soccer, producing some of the most storied teams, players, and moments in history while winning the coveted World Cup four times.

Some of the world's best players have starred for that European side, including Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Mueller, former USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann and Lothar Matthaeus, among others. As West Germany at the 1954 World Cup, the squad overcame an early two-goal deficit to defeat Ferenc Puskas and the Magical Magyars of Hungary, 3-2, to capture its first World Cup. As hosts of the 1974 competition, the West Germans rallied from another early deficit to register a 2-1 victory over Johan Cruyff and the Netherlands. They returned to the winners stand in 1990, besting Diego Maradona and Argentina in the Italia '90 final, 1-0, as Andreas Brehme converted an 85th-minute penalty kick.

In Brazil in 2014, Germany became the first European team to win a World Cup in South America, besting Argentina and Lionel Messi for the crown, 1-0, as Mario Götze scored the game-winner in the 113th minute. Since then, the Germans have failed to reach the knockout rounds at the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.

Germany also has won the European Championship three times - 1972, 1980, 1996, and won the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

USMNT VS. GERMANY

The U.S. has a 4-7-0 record against Germany in several memorable results. The teams met for the first time at the U.S. Cup in Chicago on June 13, 1993, with the European side registering a 4-3 win. Karlheinz Riedle struck for a hat-trick and Jurgen Klinsmann added one goal for the Germans. Thomas Dooley bagged a brace and Earnie Stewart added a goal for the USA. In 1998 they met in the World Cup for the first time in Paris, France. Germany posted a 2-0 triumph on June 15, 1998, behind goals from Andreas Möller and Klinsmann. In one of Bruce Arena's early games as USMNT head coach, the Americans collected their first victory in the series in a 3-0 friendly victory in Jacksonville, Fla. on Feb. 6, 1999, as Jovan Kirovski, Tony Sanneh and Claudio Reyna scored within a 10-minute span in the opening half.

In what is likely to be the most famous confrontation between the two teams, Germany eked out a 1-0 win in the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup in Ulsan, South Korea. Michael Ballack scored the lone goal in the 39th minute. Torsten Frings saved a shot off the line with his hand by current USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter. No infraction was called. The U.S. surprised the Germans with a 4-3 victory in a Washington, D.C. friendly at RFK Stadium in the U.S. Soccer Centennial Celebration Match on June 2, 2013, as Clint Dempsey recorded a brace. Jozy Altidore added another tally, and the visitors scored an own goal.

In the teams' third World Cup encounter, Germany secured a 1-0 group stage win in Recife, Brazil on June 26, 2014, on Thomas Müller's 55th-minute score. In their most recent engagement, Bobby Wood's 87th-minute goal lifted the USA to a 2-1 win in Cologne, Germany on June 10, 2015, Germany. Mario Götze gave the hosts the lead, but Mix Diskerud leveled in the 41st minute.

RECENT MATCHES

Germany has struggled to a 2-4-1 mark in seven friendlies this year, despite six home matches. The team started 2023 on an optimistic note, blanking Peru, 2-0, behind Niclas Füllkrug’s brace in Mainz on March 25. Three days later, the Germans went down to a 3-2 defeat to Belgium in Cologne, as Füllkrug and Serge Gnabry scored.

June was not kind to the Germans, finishing winless at 0-2-1. They played Ukraine to a 3-3 draw in Bremen on June 12, escaping with a tie, on Joshua Kimmich's penalty kick a minute into second-half stoppage time. Füllkrug and Kai Havertz scored. They then were shut out twice within a four-day span. the first match was a 1-0 loss at Poland in Warsaw, on June 16, the second game was a 2-0 defeat to Colombia in Gelsenkirchen on June 20.

The winless streak reached five games in a 4-1 loss to Japan in Wolfsburg on Sept. 9. Leroy Sané scored a first-half equalizer, but the Asian side struck twice late in the match to pull away. Germany broke the skid with a 2-1 win over France in Dortmund on Sept. 12, finding the net early and late. Thomas Müller scored in the fourth minute, Sané in the 87th minute.

MANAGER

At 36, Julian Nagelsmann is one of the youngest national team coaches in the game. On Sept. 22, he was named to succeed Hansi Flick. Nagelsmann also became the second youngest national team coach in German history (Otto Nerz was the youngest at 34, when he was appointed in 1926). Nagelsmann, will make his international coaching debut against the USMNT.

Nagelsmann became the youngest coach in Bundesliga history when he took over the Hoffenheim reins at the age of 28 in 2016. He managed the club through 2018, finishing third in the league and reaching the UEFA Champions League. He was named head coach at RB Leipzig in 2018, guiding the side to the UCL semifinals, losing to Paris Saint-Germain, 3-0. After leading Leipzig to the DFB-Pokal final in 2021, Nagelsmann was appointed head coach at Bayern Munich. He directed Bayern to the 2022 Bundesliga crown before he was fired this past March.

As a center back, Nagelsmann played for FC Issing, FC Augsburg and 1860 Munich.

ROSTER

In his first roster call-up as head coach, Julian Nagelsmann named 26 players for the two friendlies. Most of the roster is domestic based with 19 players from Bundesliga teams.

Perennial powerhouse Bayern Munich is the most represented club team with five players, followed by Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen, with four apiece.

Fans should be familiar with Bayern forward Thomas Müller, who scored in the 1-0 win over the USA in the group stage of the 2014 World Cup. Müller, the oldest player on the squad at 34, also is the top goal-scorer with 45 in 123 international matches.

U.S. forward Gio Reyna, who plays for Borussia Dortmund, will face off against four members of his club team - defenders Mats Hummels and Niklas Süle, midfielder Julian Brandt and forward Niclas Füllkrug.

Füllkrug has scored seven goals in nine international matches, including four this year.

Barcelona midfielder İlkay Gündoğan (17 goals in 69 appearances) captains the side.

Midfielder Florian Wirtz, 20, is the youngest player on the team.

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Robert Andrich, Stuttgart winger Chris Führich and Union Berlin forward Kevin Behrens are in line to earn their first caps.

In an unusual move, Nagelsmann decided to bring four goalkeepers to the states. Barcelona’s Marc-André ter Stegen has the most experience in the back with 36 appearances.

ROSTER DETAILS

GOALKEEPERS (4): Oliver Baumann (Hoffenheim; 0/0), Bernd Leno (Fulham/ENG; 9/0), Marc-André ter Stegen (Barcelona/ESP; 36/0), Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt; 7/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Robin Gosens (Union Berlin; 18/2), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund; 76/5), David Raum (RB Leipzig; 18/2), Antonio Rüdiger (Real Madrid/ESP; 62/2), Niklas Süle (Borussia Dortmund; 47/1), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen; 17/0), Malick Thiaw (AC Milan/ITA; 2/0)

MIDFIELDERS (10): Robert Andrich (Bayer Leverkusen; 0/0), Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund; 44/3), Chris Führich (VfB Stuttgart; 0/0), Leon Goretzka (Bayern Munich; 45/14), Pascal Gross (Brighton/ENG; 2.0), İlkay Gündoğan (Barcelona/ESP; 2/0), Jonas Hofmann (Bayer Leverkusen; 22/4), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich; 80/6), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich; 23/1), Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen; 10/0)

FORWARDS (5): Leroy Sané (Bayern Munich; 55/13), Kevin Behrens (Union Berlin; 0/0), Niclas Füllkrug (Borussia Dortmund; 9/7), Kai Havertz (Arsenal/ENG; 39/13), Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich; 123/45)

Go Deeper