They’ve been felled by Spain at the past two major tournaments – the Euro 2008 final and the 2010 World Cup semi-final – but there is a certain air of expectation that this young Germany side are gearing up to produce something special this summer and not to end up being the bridesmaids once again.
Qualification for Poland-Ukraine was achieved with what can only be described in the most clichéd way possible as with German precision and efficiency – 10 wins out of 10, 30 points out of a possible 30 with 34 goals scored and just seven conceded. Joachim ‘Jogi’ Low has revolutionised the national team during his six years in charge, this is a German team that has a swagger about it with matches the style and substance produced on the field. A cause for concern for Germany might be the leaky defence, with just one clean sheet in 13 games, which is the only possible downside to their attacking game.
Just three players in Low’s squad is aged 30 and above – the oldest player in the German ranks is Miroslav Klose (33) – who is bearing down on Gerd Muller’s international record of 68 international goals. Klose is certainly in the squad on merit and has the experience of scoring at major tournaments; he also scored 9 during the qualification process. In terms of youth (average age of the initial 27-man squad being 24.2 years-old), Germany have an embarrassment of riches – Holger Badstuber (23), Mats Hummels (23), Mario Gotze (19), Toni Kroos (22), Mesut Ozil (23), Marco Reus (22) and Thomas Muller (22) – all bar Reus have amassed 10 or more international caps already.
In the build-up to the tournament, Germany have suffered two shock defeats. One being a 2-1 defeat at home to France and two days ago a 5-3 loss to Switzerland, albeit they were without eight Bayern Munich players who were given extra-time off after the Champions League final, but the likes of Klose, Ozil, Khedira, Gotze and Podolski all featured for Germany. Perhaps Die Mannschaft are saving their best form for the tournament? They’ll certainly need it in this group. First up, Portugal and Holland…
Fixtures: Germany vs. Portugal (June, 9th), Germany vs. Holland (June, 13th) and Germany vs. Denmark (June, 17th)