PORTO SEGURO, Brazil (AP) — Injuries have depleted Germany's defense in such a way that its opening match against Portugal may see four central defenders in the starting line-up, with two of them out of position and two who have rarely played together.
Coach Joachim Loew didn't seem unduly worried on Friday about the prospect, confirming that his back four may feature four central defenders.
Captain and right back Philipp Lahm could move into the midfield, with Jerome Boateng taking his place in Monday's Group G match. The left back position could go to Benedikt Hoewedes, while Mats Hummels and Per Mertesacker would be the central defenders.
Loew explained that fullbacks would not play as big a role at the World Cup as in qualifying, when teams usually play very defensively against Germany. Runs on the flanks are a good way to break down defenses.
Lahm often played as a defensive midfielder for Bayern Munich last season and Loew indicated that it would happen again on Monday.
"He played in the midfield in the last warm-up match (a 6-1 victory over Armenia) and I am pretty sure he will do the same on Monday as well," Loew said this week.
But Loew could be hiding his cards. With Lahm as right back, his two central defenders could be Mertesacker and Boateng, who have played together more often than Mertesacker and Hummels. The latter two have looked uncomfortable on occasions.
"We do have a little problem there," Loew acknowledged.
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