WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Germany

WORLD CUP PREVIEW: Germany

COACH – Joachim Low
BEST SHOWING – Winners 1954, 1974, 1990
QUALIFICATION – Winner of UEFA Qualifying Group C
TOURNAMENT ODDS – 13/2 (Stan James)
FIXTURES
June 16th – Portugal (1700 BST, Salvador, ITV)
June 21st – Ghana (2000 BST, Fortaleza, BBC)
June 26th – USA (1700 BST, Recife, BBC)

 

Button Portugal Button Ghana Button USA

 

Perennial contenders, Germany come into Brazil with a heap of expectation on their shoulders. They’ve lost one game in the last two years and that was when a weakened side took on the United States. But when it comes to recent tournaments, the Germans have picked up a habit that isn’t German at all – losing games that matter. They’ve reached the last four in every World Cup or European Championship since 2006 but have only advanced to the final once, a bit of an underachievement considering the talent they have possessed.

It hasn’t been smooth sailing in preparation for the tournament either. Lars Bender misses out through injury, while Mesut Ozil hasn’t had a shining season at Arsenal. Lukas Podolski, Mario Gomez and many others have missed chunks of the season through injury problems but a deep squad offsets some of the problems and these Germans possess flair, grace and style. But they aren’t quite as tight defensively as they were in the days of Lothar Matthaus. One result in qualifying shook up the Germans – after being 4-0 up after an hour against Sweden, the Swedes pulled it back to 4-4.

Low will more than likely use a 4-2-3-1, the excellent Manuel Neuer will be the man between the sticks.

The back four should be Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng. The German strength today lies in their midfield options – Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira can hold the fort in midfield while the likes of Ozil, Thomas Muller, Andre Schurrle, Mario Gotze and Marco Reus create havoc further up.

Miroslav Klose returns for his fourth World Cup and should he net once he’ll take Gerd Muller’s German goal record. Should he net twice he’ll overtake the Brazilian Ronaldo as the all-time leading scorer at the World Cup finals.

The German plan is a bit of a mesh between the possession Bayern Munich enjoy and the pressing game employed by Borussia Dortmund. It’s more a style of building from the back to move it quickly to the midfielders behind the lone forward. The Germans are very potent offensively and teams don’t often shut them out – only two teams have kept clean sheets against them since Euro 2012.

 

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ONE TO WATCH

07 WORLD CUP GOTZEA product of Borussia Dortmund’s academy, Gotze enjoyed several successful years at the Westfalenstadion before moving to Munich in the summer of 2013 for a hefty transfer fee, briefly becoming Germany’s most expensive player before Mesut Ozil’s mega money move from Real Madrid to Arsenal.

Gotze is a very versatile player, capable of playing as a striker or on either wing. His preferred position is as the modern number 10 or playmaker of the side and it’s a role he fits into well.

He’s adept at dribbling, loves taking players on and despite his short stature he isn’t the easiest individual to dispossess. He can adapt to either way of passing too but his short accurate passes cause defenders many headaches and his speed can cause havoc on the counter attack.

Gotze is a very dangerous customer and with many other attacking forces beside him, the Germans look a tough unit.

HERE COMES D-JUDGE
D-Judge

In the last decade or so Germany have been the nearly men and have often been foiled by the Italians or the Spanish. With both of them in the other side of the draw, Germany’s route to the final looks straightforward.

Argentina or France could await in the quarter finals and Spain look the likely semi-final opponents but it’s time these Germans delivered on the big stage. For all the flair, grace and style they possess, they’ve been found wanting when it matters. Joachim Low’s popularity took a hit when the Germans blundered in Euro 2012 and seeing his side blow a 4-0 lead makes folk question whether he has the winning mentality.

The players certainly do though. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund aren’t accustomed to losing and they’ll certainly be confident and with good reason.

Defence is a question mark but Manuel Neuer is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Germany have the tools and the game to win the tournament and can cut through many sides with ease.

 

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VERDICT

The last four has to be the minimum aim for this bunch. They can win it all but another last four exit is my gut feeling.

world cup Brasil emblem 01

Dan-z Beckenbauer (D-Good)
Owls Alive
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TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83


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