World: Friendlies
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By Rune Gjerulff@runegjerulff

Germany vs. Japan preview: Team news and predicted lineups

Here is our preview of Saturday's international friendly between Germany and Japan, including our predicted lineups.
Having guided his team to just one win in five matches since Germany's shock group-stage exit at the World Cup in Qatar, head coach Hansi Flick is under increasing pressure ahead of Saturday's friendly against Japan at the Volkswagen Arena in Wolfsburg.

With some reports even suggesting that Flick could be on his way out if Germany do not show significant improvement against Japan on Saturday and France three days later, much will be at stake.

Germany last faced Japan in their World Cup opener, which ended in a 2-1 victory for the Samurai Blue, who eventually advanced to the knockout stages with Spain at the expense of Hansi Flick's troops. This should only add to the motivation for the Germans to put in a top performance in Wolfsburg on Saturday night.

First-choice goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer is still working his way back from the leg fracture he suffered last winter, so Marc-André ter Stegen will be in goal.

Meanwhile, Joshua Kimmich will start at right-back, based on the lineup Flick tested earlier this week, which is likely to be a good indication of Germany's lineup against Japan.

According to Bild, Flick plans to give Kimmich the role of an inverted right-back, meaning that when Germany are in possession, he will move inside to the center to link defense and attack, and without the ball, he will act as a right-back in a back four.

Niklas Süle, Antonio Rüdiger, and Nico Schlotterbeck are likely to play with Kimmich at the back, with Ilkay Gündogan and Emre Can partnering in central midfield, and Leroy Sané, Florian Wirtz, and Serge Gnabry playing further forward behind Kai Havertz.

Niclas Füllkrug and Jamal Musiala have both been forced out of the squad, with veteran Thomas Müller recalled as a replacement for the former.

Click here to see our predicted Germany vs. Japan lineups.

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