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Friday, May 30, 2008

Euro 2008: Germany Squad

Germany is a big power in world football. Germany has a long tradition of football and produced many legendary footballers in the past and there is no doubt, Germany is one of the top favorites of Euro 2008 competition. EURO 2008 tournament is going to kick off from 7 June, which will continue till 29 June. Austria and Switzerland are jointly organizing the tournament this year. Germany has remarkable success both in FIFA World Cup and European Championship. In fact, they won both the tournaments thrice until now. Last time Germany won EURO trophy was in EURO 1996 in England. However, their performance in the previous two tournaments tournament of Euro was not satisfactory at all, as they crashed out of the tournament from the first round in both EURO 200 and 2004 tournaments. So, German fans are eagerly waiting to see some impressive performance from Germany this time around. Considering the recent performance of European Championship, you may think that Germany has not been playing well in the last five or six years. However, the truth is that Germany was the finalists of 2002 FIFA World Cup and the third place winner of 2006 FIFA World Cup.

Germany won their spot in EURO 2008 finishing second in Group D of qualifying round, where Czech Republic become the group winner. So, German fans are not happy, even though they got into the final tournament. They suffered a humiliated defeat to Czech Republic in Munich in front of the home crowd. It is true that the performance of qualifying round and the performance of final tournament is different. So, it is expected that Germany will appear as a tougher competitor in Euro 2008 competition. Germany has been drawn in Group B where they will face Poland, Croatia and Austria. So, it is clear that Germany is the most favorite to get into the next round from this group. However, I think, the task would not easy for Germany to secure a spot in the quarter final of Euro 2008 tournament. Croatia is an emerging side in Europe, who got into the final tournament becoming the winner of the group of qualifying round, even though England was also in the same group. Poland is also a good side, while Austria will have home advantage in the tournament. The schedule of Germany’s group stage matches is given here:

Date

Competing Teams

Venue

8 June 2008

Sunday

Germany vs Poland

Wörthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt

12 June 2008

Thursday

Germany vs Croatia

Wörthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt

16 June 2008

Monday

Germany vs Austria

Ernst Happel, Vienna


Germany has some excellent footballers with lots of experience and talent. The squad Germany coach Joachim Loew announced recently seems to be balanced. At first, Loew declared a 26-men preliminary squad earlier this month, but the coach reduced it to 23 as every team is allowed to have a 23-men squad for the tournament including three mandatory goalkeepers. The surprise omission was 19 year old midfielder Marko Marin, whose inclusion in the preliminary squad was also a surprise to many. Actually, it was expected that Marko Marin would make it to the final 23, after Coach Joachim Loew became impressed with his performance in the training camp. The midfielder of Borussia Moenchengladbach, who promoted to the league from second division last season, debuted for Germany in their 2-2 draw against Belarus in a friendly match. Two other players who dropped from the final 23 are midfielder Jermaine Jones and striker Patrick Helmes. Interestingly, Helmes also played in the second division last season and his club Cologne was also promoted to the first division. Jermaine Jones is the striker of Schalke who failed to make it to the final squad. Some football specialists are not happy with the 23-man squad of Germany for Euro 2008 tournament because there are some veterans who are underperformed at this moment and some have injury problem too. However, Coach Joachim Loew, who took over from Jurgen Klinsmann after the end of 2006 World Cup, thinks that all of the three dropped players were impressive in the training and deserved a place in the squad.

Joachim Loew included 15 members of the Germany squad of 2006 world cup in the squad for Euro 2008 tournament. 35-year old striker Oliver Neuville was also included in the final squad. The only newcomer in the squad is Rene Adler who is likely to sit on the sideline as a reserve goalkeeper. Actually, I think, there will not be many changes in the final 11 of Germany that played almost regularly during 2006 world cup tournament.

In the defense, Christoph Metzelder, Per Mertesacker and Philipp Lahm are pretty much confirmed for Germany’s defense. Marcell Jansen is considered to be the likely left back in the final line up of Germany. Coach Low always likes 4-4-2 formation and it is expected that he will make his plan based on this formation during Euro 200 competition and Miroslav Klose is considered to be in the up front, while Kevin Kuranyi or Mario Gómez or Lukas Podolski will be seen in the role of a second striker or a deep lying center forward. Mario Gómez is the 2007 German Player of the Year award winner. So, Low has a number of options for this position. In the midfield, Torsten Frings seems to be an automatic choice in the central midfield, alongside Michael Ballack. Low can either play two wingers alongside Torsten Frings and Michael Ballack in the center. However, Ballack could play as a deep lying midfielder that he did during 2002 World Cup, with two holding midfielders. I think, Ballack should be brought in a playmaker’s role in the midfield which would create more chances for Klose and help the second striker too in the matches.

I think, the squad Germany has for Euro 2008 can produce something special for German fans in Euro 2008 with their talent and experience in evidence. So, if you are a fan of German football team, then you should hold your patience and belief in Germany. Her, I am giving the full squad of Germany for Euro 2008 competition from BBC:

Goalkeepers: Jens Lehmann (Arsenal), Robert Enke (Hanover 96), Rene Adler (Bayer Leverkusen)

Defenders: Christoph Metzelder (Real Madrid), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Arne Friedrich (Hertha Berlin), Marcell Jansen (Bayern Munich), Clemens Fritz (Werder Bremen), Heiko Westermann (Schalke 04)

Midfielders: Michael Ballack (Chelsea), Thomas Hitzlsperger (VfB Stuttgart), Simon Rolfes (Bayer Leverkusen), Torsten Frings (Werder Bremen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Piotr Trochowski (Hamburg SV), Tim Borowski (Werder Bremen)

Forwards: David Odonkor (Real Betis), Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich), Lukas Podolski (Bayern Munich), Mario Gomez (VfB Stuttgart), Kevin Kuranyi (Schalke 04), Oliver Neuville (Borussia Moenchengladbach)

Related article:

CNN

Guardian

Euro 2008

BBC

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