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|EURO 2012 Preview: Germany|
If any side has a chance to beat Spain, it’s the Germans. Germany are currently one of the best teams in the world and are one of the favourites to take out this year’s crown, but obviously reigning World and European Champions Spain will take the Germans all the way. Die Mannschaft are also the most successful European Champions and are the likely to advance to at least the Quarter-Finals, but probably the Semi-Finals or Final.
Joachim Loew has selected a variety of quality players with the likes of Manuel Neuer and Mario Gomez having fantastic seasons for Bayern Munich, as well as inspirational midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who missed a lengthy period with a shoulder injury. Mats Hummels, Mario Gotze, Marcel Schmelzer and Ilkay Gundogan too have been rewarded for excellent campaigns with Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund.
German regulars Miroslav Klose, Phillip Lahm, and Per Mertesacker remain in the squad, however the majority are young and talented footballers, who have energy to burn.
Loew - or Jogi as he is more affectionately known - has a massive selection headache in midfield and attack with plenty of available options, but it all comes down to finding the right combination. Not only has Loew assembled a fantastic squad, but the Germans are in their prime, so this is their best chance to win another crown.
There will also be a sense of revenge in the Die Mannschaft camp, as the Germans lost to Spain 1-0, thanks to a Fernando Torres strike in the previous edition in 2008, in Austria and Switzerland.
The Germans powered through the qualifying stage with 10 wins out of 10 games, a perfect record.
That included convincing victories over Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. But the biggest challenge was overcoming Turkey and Belgium. Lowe’s side convincingly beat the Turks in both legs however, before squeezing past the Belgians in Brussels. Since qualifying Loew experimented in a number of friendly games, with mixed results.
The Germans travelled to Ukraine and were held to an entertaining 3-3 draw, before defeating follow EURO 2012 contenders the Netherlands 3-0. However Die Mannschaft suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the French.
UEFA European Championship Record
Most recently the Germans faced Switzerland in Basel but were defeated 5-3. The Swiss were the more lethal side in the front third on the night, as Eren Derdiyok scored a hat-trick, whilst Hummels, Andre Schurrle and Marco Reus all got on the scoresheet, the latter two hoping to prove their worth at the upcoming finals.
PLAYER TO WATCH: MESUT OZIL
Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil, is the man to watch for Germany. The talented playmaker links the midfield, with Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira, to Mario Gomez up front with some lovely balls and a perfect touch.
The former Werder Bremen midfielder has had a fantastic start to his La Liga career, and has progressed to one of the world’s best in a short couple seasons.
Ozil has an outstanding assist record, not just for Real Madrid but also for Germany. In qualifying, the 23-year-old created seven goals, more than any other player, and also managed to score five times.
For Los Merengues, the German made an exceptional 25 assists in the 2010-11 campaign, his first for Real, before making 17 in the past season, topping La Liga’s assist chart.
Ozil will be imperative for Die Mannschaft in this year’s edition of the European Championships, and Ozil and co. will be hoping to cap off a great season with another crown.
DANIEL'S PREDICTION: RUNNERS-UP: Have a huge chance to win the title with an incredible squad and manager; however Spain will just edge them.