Euro 2012 guide: Germany

FLAIR: Mesut Ozil
FLAIR: Mesut Ozil

RUNNERS-UP at Euro 2008 and third place finishers at the last two World Cups feel that this German side is set to win the country’s first trophy since Euro 96.

And who could argue? They have established world class players in Bastian Shweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil and Philip Lahm while they also boast some of world most promising talents too - Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Mats Hummels amongst a crop of German players thought to be the most talented since the early 80s. The team don’t play in the same reactive style of 2 years ago – instead they press relentlessly, play a quick passing game and look to attack quickly. Many expect Germany to win Euro 2012 – and it’s with good reason.

Coach

Joachim Low took the coach’s job after being Jurgen Klinsmann’s assistant at the 2006 World Cup. Low’s German’s have reached second place third place in Germany’s last two tournaments and have made many friends with their style of play along the way. The sophisticated coach has concentrated on youth since 2006 and has not been afraid to drop big name players such as Michael Ballack.

Key player

Nobody else embodies the style, flair and creativity of this Germany side plays than Mesut Ozil. A silky runner with the ball and an intelligent mover off it, Ozil will look to use his vision, dribbling and creativity to set up moves in the final third. The Real Madrid playmaker was brilliant in qualifying creating 7 goals for his team mates – while also showing the ability to finish moves as well, getting on the score sheet 5 times.

One to watch

Germany has many exciting young players coming through but perhaps the most exciting is 22 year old attacker Marco Reus. The attacker has great pace, trickery and is a good finisher too – he was one of the reasons why Borussia Monchengladbach finished in a Champions League place this season. Reus probably won’t start many games for Germany this time around but he’s certainly capable of making the difference coming off the bench while his versatility should see that he get playing time.

Why they could have a good tournament...

That only Mesut Ozil is the only attacker assured of a first team place shows you what terrific strength in depth the German’s have in midfield and attack. They seem to have two top class players for every position going forward in both central and wide positions. Just listing their attacking options should be a scary thought for opponents: Gotze, Thomas Muller, Miroslav Klose, Mario Gomez, Reus, Toni Kroos, Mario Gomez, Bastian Shweinsteiger and Luka Podolski. The German’s possess so much flair and attacking talent they could well get far in the tournament with their second string.

Why they could have a bad tournament...

Despite terrific options in midfield and attack the one weakness are for the team could be in defence. Again they have options but their defence seems slightly unsettled with uncertainties with who’ll be the centre back partnership and which player will take the remaining fullback position with captain Lahm taking the other one. Per Mertesacker has struggled for form this season and hasn’t been helped with the fact that he’s only recently back from injury. The 5 goals conceded to the Swiss in a pre tournament friendly must have Low worrying.