Despite a poor run at the last World Cup, Germany are considered favorites in Qatar and they kick things off with a tricky Japan test on Wednesday.
The Germans were eliminated in the group stage at the 2018 World Cup after losing to both Mexico and South Korea.
This further cemented the narrative of the winners curse after they beat Argentina in the 2014 final to be crowned champions for a 4th time.
Japan on the other hand came close to stunning Belgium in the round of 16 but Nacer Chadli’s stoppage time winner knocked them out.
The Germans are not on a convincing run of form ahead of this match, winning just 2 games from their last 8 outings.
Germany are participating in the FIFA World Cup for the 20th time in their history and will become only the second team after Brazil to achieve the feat.
They have also reached the semi-finals in four of the five World Cups held since the turn of the century, with the only exception coming in 2018.
Japan’s most recent World Cup success did come on the opening day of the 2018 tournament – a 2-1 victory over Colombia.
Can the Asian giants pull off another upset and get things started with an important 3 points?
What time does Germany vs Japan start?
The game kicks off at 4pm Kenyan time at the Khalifa International Stadium.
Germany vs Japan team news
Injuries to forwards Marco Reus and Timo Werner were a big blow to Hansi Flick’s side ahead of the tournament.
Though there’s plenty of young talent in the squad including the likes of Jamal Musiala and Borussia Dortmund’s Youssoufa Moukoko.
Though the experienced bunch of Ilkay Gundogan, Thomas Muller and Serge Gnabry are all expected to start the opening fixture.
For the Asians, Arsenal right-back Takehiro Tomiyasu will partner with captain Maya Yoshida in the heart of defense.
The experienced Takumo Asano will start up front alongside Takumi Minamino.
Germany vs Japan head to head
These two have never locked horns in a competitive match before, but Germany are unbeaten in both of their previous meetings, winning a 2004 friendly 3-0 before a 2-2 draw.
Germany vs Japan current form
There is nothing separating these two nations when it comes to their recent run of form ahead of the World Cup.
Both have won twice, drawn twice and lost once in their last 5 games.
Germany vs Japan prediction
With a point to prove from their last appearance at the finals and eager to break their inconsistent run of form, Germany are tipped as favorites to begin their campaign with a win.