Euro 2012 Team Preview: Germany


If they were a pop star they'd be...

A generic boy band, probably engineered in a lab owned by Simon Cowell.

Their precision haircuts match their football, but they need to be careful not to become overproduced.

Manager's pedigree

Since stepping up to the head coach’s role after the 2006 World Cup, Joachim Löw has taken Germany to the European Championship Final and World Cup Final. In fact, many have argued that he was the tactical brain behind the German side during his time as assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann. While his club coaching CV is relatively modest, Löw’s experience and understanding of the international game is probably without parallel among his peers. All that is missing is a tournament win.

Selection dilemmas

Of the eleven midfielders travelling, only three do not play for teams that have qualified for the Champions League next season. Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil won the Spanish League title with Real Madrid and there is a bevvy of exceptionally talented, technical attacking players. Squeezing Lukas Podolski, André Schürrle, Thomas Müller, Mario Götze and Marco Reus into those midfield positions alongside Özil will be a real challenge for the coach.

Expectation/mood back home

The tabloids will be feverish with anticipation of Germany being crowned champions of Europe. However, I imagine that while the public will have high expectations of a victory, the memory of the recent defeats to Spain in the last two tournaments will give them cause for concern. Expectations will be tempered by past disappointments.

Main man

Bastian Schweinsteiger is the link man between the German defence and attack. He has ninety caps to his name and is a leader on the pitch, despite not being captain.

Also, in what may be an unsettled defense, the versatility of skipper Philipp Lahm will be extremely important

Most likely to be top scorer

I believe that the 2010 World Cup top scorer, Thomas Müller, would be a good bet to repeat that feat in this tournament. The Bayern Munich player can score from range but also has good positional sense at set pieces. Müller is at 35.00 to be top scorer at Euro 2012.

Most likely to get sent off

A bet on no red cards for Germany would be a relatively safe one, as their team is very disciplined, with few hotheads likely to do anything stupid. However, if any player is inclined to lose their head, it might be Lukas Podolski, who can be fractious under pressure.

Three unknowns to keep an eye out for

Given the relative lack of exposure that the Bundesliga gets internationally, you may see a number of players that you may not have heard of who are already well established in the German top flight.

Mario Götze will be the outstanding player of his generation if he fulfills his potential. Look out for his direct runs in attack and tremendous acceleration. Marco Reus had a breakout season at Borussia Monchengladbach, which earned him a big money move to the champions Dortmund for the start of next term. He has exceptional close control and imagination, so is capable of the unexpected. André Schürrle, of Bayer Leverkusen has had a relatively quiet season for his club after transferring from Mainz. He may only be a fringe player but will frighten opposition full backs with his changes of direction at pace.

Prediction

This is the toughest group of the four and no one should be surprised if any team makes it through to the quarter-finals. Should Germany get off to a bad start, it is entirely possible that their campaign will end prematurely. If they get a great start against Portugal, though, Germany should make it through in at least second position. Much depends of the big game against the Dutch. That match may well decide which team wins group.

If they can reach the knockout stage, there is no reason why Germany should not win the tournament. While there are potential weaknesses in their defence Germany’s problems are small compared to those faced by other teams. There is no doubt that Germany enter Euro 2012 with one of the best and most exciting teams to watch. Germany to win the tournament is at 4.25.