Klose, Gotze, Lahm: What happened to Germany’s 2014 World Cup winners?

By Stephan Uersfeld Share Tweet 42 minutes ago Klose, Gotze, Lahm: What happened to Germany's 2014 World Cup winners?

Germany surprised everyone in Brazil having come back from pretournament adversity to win it all.

It's been almost three years since Germany lifted the World Cup in Brazil after a terrific squad effort from start to finish amid difficult conditions. But where is that squad now?

Goalkeepers

Manuel Neuer, 30 — The Bayern Munich keeper remains one of the best shot-stoppers in the world but is hardly ever tested in the Bundesliga, where his club continue to dominate.

Roman Weidenfeller, 36 — Having been a surprise member of the Brazil squad, his stock soon fell at Dortmund, where he was replaced as No. 1 goalkeeper by Roman Burki in 2015. He could retire from professional football this summer.

Ron-Robert Zieler, 28 — Stayed at Hannover 96 until their relegation in 2016, joined Premier League champions Leicester and is the second keeper behind Kasper Schmeichel as the Foxes battle relegation less than nine months after winning the league.

Defenders

Jerome Boateng, 28 — Performed at the highest level until he ran into injury problems in early 2016. He's still working on his Bayern Munich comeback.

Erik Durm, 24 — The versatile BVB player struggled with several knee injuries and only recently won back his place in Dortmund's starting formation. However, a national team comeback remains highly unlikely.

Kevin Grosskreutz, 28 — His career hit rock bottom when the Dortmund-born announced he'd leave football for the time following a fight involving the defender in Stuttgart's city centre.

Benedikt Howedes, 29 — Remains a one-club player to this day. Signed a new deal at Schalke 04 and has been a constant member of the national team when fit.

Mats Hummels, 28 — Despite a short drop in form following the 2014 tournament, Hummels hasn't yet been hit with the World Cup-winner curse. He's remained injury free, and in 2016, he returned to his boyhood club, Bayern Munich, from Borussia Dortmund.

Philipp Lahm, 33 — Retired from international football after the World Cup and will hang up his boots in the summer of 2017.

Per Mertesacker, 32 — Just like Lahm, Mertesacker ended his Germany career in 2014, and he's currently working toward full fitness and a first-team return at Arsenal.

Shkodran Mustafi, 24 — Joined Valencia from Sampdoria in 2014 and moved on to Arsenal in the summer of 2016. Remains an option for the national team.

Midfielders

Julian Draxler, 22 — It seemed at one point that the midfielder was carelessly throwing away his career. He moved from Schalke to Wolfsburg, where he struggled to fulfill his abundant potential. Yet he's experienced a full revival now that he's at Paris Saint-Germain, whom he joined in January 2017. One big question remains: Can he consistently perform at the highest level?

Matthias Ginter, 23 — Joined Dortmund from Freiburg after the World Cup but has yet to experience his breakthrough season. Linked with a move to RB Leipzig and currently not in the national team picture.

Mario Gotze, 24 — The talented playmaker arguably peaked in Rio de Janeiro when scoring the winner in the final. He went on to struggle at Bayern and again at Dortmund after returning to his old club in 2016. Withdrawn from training with a mysterious illness in late February 2017.

Sami Khedira, 29 — Joined Juventus in 2015 and has continued to perform well, but his time in Italy might come to an end soon.

Christoph Kramer, 25 — Played in the World Cup final but lost all memory of it after picking up a concussion. Scored a famous goal from the half-way line in November 2014. Left Gladbach for Leverkusen only to return. Remains a solid Bundesliga player though is no longer in national team consideration.

Toni Kroos, 27 — One of the leaders at Real Madrid and remains one of the leaders for Germany. Has matured into one of the best players worldwide in his position.

Mesut Ozil, 29 — Dreamt of the Ballon d'Or but has never been able to shake off a certain lethargy in big games. Still plays a crucial role for Germany.

Bastian Schweinsteiger, 32 — Left Bayern in 2015 and joined Manchester United. Just made the 2016 Euros, retired from international football and has become a minor player under Jose Mourinho.

Forwards

Miroslav Klose, 38 — Retired from the national team in 2014 and from football in 2016. Has returned to the DFB where he makes his first steps in coaching.

Thomas Muller, 27 — Continues to play an important role for both Germany and Bayern but is going through the first significant crisis of his career. Sometimes looks like he has lost his hunger for goal, sometimes not.

Lukas Podolski, 31 — Left the Germany team, for whom he had become a mascot, after the 2016 Euros. Currently in Turkey, he will head to Japan in the summer of 2017 and continue to do "Poldi" things.

Andre Schurrle, 26 — Loves to change clubs. Currently at Borussia Dortmund, where he has yet to shine. Joachim Low continues to invite him to the national team, but younger players like Leroy Sane have seemingly moved ahead of him in the pecking order.

Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.

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