Even in the group of death that is Group B no one is doubting the fact that Germany would get past the challenges of Holland, Portugal and Denmark given the efficiency with which Joachim Low’s side have qualified for Euro 2012. Winning all ten of their qualifiers is no mean feat in Europe and the meticulous way of achieving it speaks volumes of the three time European champions’ depth and creativity all over the pitch. The nickname Die Mannschaft perfectly suits this team as highly talented young individuals as well as experienced campaigners work tirelessly in unison to bring home an international silverware that has eluded the proud Germans since 1996. 51-year old Joachim Low has worked wonders with the likes of Thomas Mueller, Philip Lahm, Miroslav Klose, Mario Gomez and company over the past five to six years to develop one of the most disciplined and well drilled football sides of the modern era. Spain might have got the better of Germany in Euro 2008 final and in 2010 World Cup semi-final but when it comes to rating the latter’s style of play no country in this world is as good as the Germans at the moment.
Gone are the days when German football would always be associated with efficient defensive planning with pacy counter attacks matched with precise finishing by strikers of the calibre of Jurgen Klinsmann and Oliver Bierrhoff. The German philosophy of team work is still at the pinnacle of all the strategies yet something has changed for good from the traditional way of playing international football. The Germans are still efficient as a war machine yet more attack minded nowadays and no team has more creative player than Die Mannschaft. From goalkeeper to striker we are talking about world class footballers. Be it Manuel Neuer in goal, probably the world’s best goalkeeper currently although Joe Hart fans would heavily disagree on this point, or Philip Lahm, captain of the side and an inspirational leader apart from being a top energetic defender, the dynamic Bastian Schweinsteiger or the youthful Thomas Mueller or the exceptionally talented Mario Goetze to lead the midfield or the prolific Mario Gomez and legendary Miroslav Klose to head an attack that has caused ripples around the continent over the past two years, this German national team is probably the best in many decades with no apparent weakness visible even in reserve.
In the midst of all these star names, one player who is the heart and soul of this rolling German football machine, who oozes class and brilliance every time he touches the ball and on whom rests German hopes of international recognition is none other than Real Madrid’s Mesut Ozil. Speaking solely of an individual does not make sense as far as Germany are concerned, a country that prides itself on the philosophy of team work but 23-year old Ozil is too good to be overlooked. To many he is Germany’s very own Lionel Messi or Zinedine Zidane but his style of play and success for both the national team and Real Madrid make him distinctively a player of his own calibre. He belongs to his own league devoid of any comparison. A rare talent in simple words. As his club coach Jose Mourinho would like to say, “Ozil is unique. There is no copy of him- not even a bad copy.” Just like the North Star that shines above the rest, the former Schalke and Werder Bremen star makes this organised and disciplined team work like a conductor conducting an orchestra. He combines his skills on the field with a great vision of the game. Ozil has a devastating left foot and can stun any defence with lethal shots on goal. What is great about this brilliant German of Kurdish decent is his simplicity on the pitch. He mixes his style and talent with remarkable grace that many say he inherited from his Turkish ancestry and a typical German never say die attitude that make him one of the most sought after young players of the modern generation.
Capped thirty one times by the Die Mannschaft, Ozil is industrious given the fact he was born in Gelsenkirchen in the famed industrial heart belt of the German Ruhr valley. The former Schalke player has a self-assuredness that typifies German way of life and the country need such attitude going into a pressure cooker environment that would be Group B in Euro 2012. Germany’s pedigree of consistently qualifying for the latter stages of any international tournament would undoubtedly be tested by the likes of Portugal, Holland and Denmark yet players like Mesut Ozil resemble the healthy environment that surrounds the national team. Not over confident by any means the team has belief and the right ammunition to successfully maintain their favourites tag in such a tough group.
“Our goal is to get the title and I am convinced we can achieve that.” boasted a confident Ozil in an interview with uefa.com.
Such confidence even after such a tough draw can only come from a player who is at the top of his game and whose main focus is on the national team bound for the Euros although Real Madrid are still in the hunt for the La Liga title and the Champions League. Such assured mentality has served Germany very well over the recent past and it’s no different this time also. In Mesut Ozil the black and white brigade have a player who not only unlocks defence at his own pace but a confident young man who firmly believes in the age old German motto of fearlessness.
Nicknamed der Rabe or the raven, Ozil has a nimble footwork which is known for feeding strikers up front with scintillating passes that can catch any opposition defence unawares. His shadow play often borders on the line of greatness and the player can come up with a breathtaking finish from any angle or any distance after tricking the opposition into his trap of immaculate passing play. His five goals in ten qualifiers and seven assists, more than any other player in the campaign, make him one of the players to watch out for come June as Germany would be out to go one step further than last term as Die Mannschaft are the overwhelming favourites to stop the Spanish Armada.