Recovered Mueller in Germany starting line-up for Japan clash

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Germany and Japan players line up before their Fifa World Cup 2022 match at Khalifa International Stadium in Doha on Wednesday. Reuters

Forward Thomas Mueller was named in Germany’s starting line-up for their opening World Cup match against Japan on Wednesday after an injury layoff.

The 33-year-old’s selection means he will be one of two Germany starters to appear at their fourth World Cup, alongside Bayern Munich teammate and captain Manuel Neuer.

Mueller has not played a full match since September.

Germany coach Hansi Flick also named Chelsea forward Kai Havertz up front. Strikers Youssoufa Moukoko and Niclas Fuellkrug, who are yet to win a cap, are on the bench.

Despite playing the most minutes of any player under Flick, West Ham defender Thilo Kehrer has been left out of the starting XI in favour of Borussia Dortmund wing-back Niklas Suele.

Japan’s line-up includes five starters who play in Germany’s Bundesliga.

Yuto Nagatomo becomes the firstJ apanese outfield player to appear at four World Cups after being named at left back.

Forward Takefusa Kubo starts alongside Daichi Kamada and Junya Ito, behind lone striker Daizen Maeda.

Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu and midfielder Hidemasa Morita were named on the bench after struggling with fitness in the build-up to the match.

Starting line-ups for the World Cup Group E match between Germany and Japan at the Khalifa International Stadium on Wednesday (kick-off 1300 GMT):

Germany (4-2-3-1)

Manuel Neuer (capt); Niklas Suele, Nico Schlotterbeck, Antonio Ruediger, David Raum; Joshua Kimmich, Ilkay Guendogan; Serge Gnabry, Thomas Mueller, Jamal Musiala; Kai Havertz

Japan  (4-2-3-1)

Shuichi Gonda; Hiroki Sakai, Maya Yoshida (capt), Kou Itakura, Yuto Nagatomo; Wataru Endo, Ao Tanaka; Junya Ito, Daichi Kamada, Takefusa Kubo; Daizen Maeda

Referee: Ivan Barton (El Salvador)
Agence France-Presse

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