A year before the World Cup in Russia comes the dress rehearsal, the Confederations Cup. Could Germany's young squad lift the trophy in the end? Or will it be one of the other seven teams?
Can Germany win the Confederations Cup?
Head coach Joachim Löw has left many of the stars of the 2014 World Cup-winning squad off of this one. Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, and Thomas Müller are among those who have not traveled to Russia. Also not making the trip are up-and-coming stars Diego Demme and Leroy Sané. Demme is out with a back injury, while Sané is taking off the summer to have a nose operation. This relatively inexperienced team, which is to be captained by Julian Draxler, is not among the favorites to win the Confederations Cup. Germany would be happy to win the trophy, but Löw's focus is on what he and his staff can learn in Russia this summer - that could help them achieve their goal of defending their World Cup title in one year's time.
How have Germany fared in the Confederations Cup?
Löw was Jürgen Klinsmann's assistant in 2005
The first time Germany participated in the Confederations Cup was in 1999 in Mexico, the second year the tournament was an official FIFA event. They didn't make it out of the group stage, losing to Brazil and the United States. Germany hosted the tournament in 2005, winning their group put losing to Brazil in the semifinals. They finished third after a penalty shootout with Mexico. They declined to participate in the 1997 tournament in Saudi Arabia and the 2003 tournament in France.
Who are the favorites?
Since Germany's priorities lie elsewhere, the tournament is wide open. Chile have looked good recently, after having beaten Argentina in the 2015 and 2016 Copa America finals. It is also hard to bet against Cristiano Ronaldo, who has helped Real Madrid to three titles in four seasons and Portugal to their first European Championship title. The dark horse of the competition might be Mexico, who have reasserted their dominance in North and Central America.
How many Bundesliga stars are involved?
Arturo Vidal (top) and Charles Aranguiz (bottom left) will be two of the Bundesliga squads in the tournament
Eight Bundesliga players will be in Russia, along with two others from Germany's lower divisions. Bayern Munich's Arturo Vidal and Leverkusen's Charles Aranguiz are to be involved in a tournament for Chile for a fourth-consecutive summer. Mexico's squad is to feature Leverkusen's Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, along with Eintracht Frankfurt's Marco Fabian and Carlos Salcedo. Matthew Leckie, who recently moved to Hertha Berlin from Ingolstadt, and Mitchell Langerak, who won the second division this past season with Stuttgart, are to suit up for Australia. Borussia Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro will be playing alongside Ronaldo with Portugal, while Jacques Zoua of second-division side Kaiserslautern and Stefan Marinovic of Unterhaching, who have earned promotion to the third division, will be playing for Cameroon and New Zealand respectively. Russia are the only team without a Bundesliga player in their squad.
Where are the games taking place?
Germany's first and third group-stage games - against Australia and Cameroon - are to be held at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, where the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games were held. Their game against Chile will be at the Kazan Arena. Those two stadiums are also where the semifinals are to take place. Should Germany lose in the semifinals, they would play the match for third place in the Otkrytiye Arena in Moscow. The final is to be held at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg.