Germany Euro 2016 Squad - Analysis and Upcoming Fixtures
In recent years, it's almost become a formality to talk about Germany when major football competitions come around.
Having not finished outside the top 4 of any international competition since Euro 2004 – a run spanning a remarkable hat-trick of 3rd place finishes, one runner-up, and one victory. Of course, that was the biggest one of all as the South American heavyweights, Argentina were dispatched with consummate ease and a legend-worthy goal by Mario Gotze.
However, everybody knows who’s boss in Europe; having lost to them in the 2008 Euro final and 2010 World Cup semi-final, the Germans will be dying to dethrone the Spaniards. Who will Joachim Loew bank on to rule Europe as his batch of 2014 ruled the planet?
Joachim Loew sprung a major surprise by leaving the one-of-a-kind Marco Reus behind - his poor injury record has unfortunately come to haunt him.
After another exhausting season chasing German giants Bayern Munich, taking an injury-prone attacker becomes a major risk. One Joachim Loew could not afford to take in his 4th consecutive tournament as national team coach. Otherwise, the retired Phillip Lahm and Per Mertesacker will refresh the pace and look of the squad.
Here is Germany’s squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Marc-Andre Ter Stegen (Barcelona)
Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Emre Can (Liverpool), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Benedikt Howedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia), Antonio Rudiger (Roma)
Midfielders: Julian Draxler (Wolfsburg), Mario Gotze (Bayern Munich), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Leroy Sane (Schalke), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United), Julian Weigl (Borussia Dortmund)
Forwards: Mario Gomez (Besiktas), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray), Andre Schurrle (Wolfsburg)
Since succeeding Jurgen Klinsmann after Germany came 3rd on their home soil in 2006, Joachim Loew has led Germany to a pair of semi-finals, one final and one trophy. He’s done it playing some fantastic football, with Germany beating Portugal, Argentina, England and Brazil (amongst others) by crushing margins.
This year, he’ll make a full decade at the helm of the German side, and to mark it with another international medal would be truly special. A brilliant man and a top tactician, Loew has taken Germany from 2 decades of near-misses to the ultimate glory in Brazil. Few can bet against him to do it.
UEFA Euro 2016 Team Preview: Formations & Tactics
Loew’s Germany tend to play two systems:
In a 4-2-3-1, the Germans can completely dictate the match. With their skillful and mobile holding midfield duo, the entire block can go up or down the pitch pinging passes. Dominating possession is not a necessity, but unless the opposing midfielders can shut their counterparts down then it is inevitable.
This formation can also be modified when a proper number nine like Mario Gomez (or a false 9 using Muller’s natural movement) is used. With Muller at the head, he can spread play out more as they’ll avoid the predictability of one focal point in attack.
UEFA Euro 2016 Team Preview: Road to the Euro Finals
As the top dogs on the planet, Germany certainly have a big target on their back.
After dominating in almost every match in their triumphant World Cup run in South America, a return to European matters was like a jolt to their system. Starting comfortably enough in Group D with a 2-1 victory over Scotland, few expected Poland to put up a fight. However, in what was one the biggest shocks in recent time, they beat the Germans 2-0.
John O’Shea then became the hero as he salvaged a 94th-minute draw for Ireland in Germany to make it 1-1. It was Gibraltar who then paid for it, as they traveled to a 4-0 demolition in Germany. The Georgians fell 2-0 later on, before an Andre Schurrle-inspired 7-0 victory over Gibraltar put the fear of life in the rest of the teams. First Poland and then Scotland fought hard but conceded 3; the former scored one and the latter notched two.
The Germans then went down to a brilliant goal from Republic of Ireland’s Shane Long, before finally beating Georgia by the same margin as before (2-1) to finish top of the group. They scored 24 and conceded 9 en route to pipping Poland by one point at the top.
UEFA Euro 2016 Team Preview: Strengths & Weaknesses
Strengths : Where to begin? One of the most lethal forwards in world football, the finest keeper, one of the youngest and most dynamic midfield and a brilliant coach. But what really makes Germany the best is the fact that they have a very clear identity.
In their footballing style, their response to different game situations and even their chance creation. It’s not like the creativity is stifled - it’s been given the perfect, solid framework to thrive. With incisive, diagonal passing and a high calibre of sharp-shooters.
Simply put, they’re a formidable, unified block of top-notch footballers!
Weaknesses: Despite all their strengths, there are reasons why they can’t steamroll every team. Germany tend to pack their midfield (their best striker is also a midfielder), which means that they have to sacrifice some width.
They also almost always employ a lone striker who can get crowded out by packed defences. The situation is compounded because the wide forwards often have to take up the second attacker’s spot - that leaves behind more space for opposing teams to attack
UEFA Euro 2016 Team Preview: Our Prediction
As one of the favourites - perennial ones at that - it would be foolish not to put at least some money on Germany taking it. Despite their endless stream of talent, the likes of Lahm and (a younger) Schweinsteiger will be tough to replace in just 2 years.
That said, Germany have proven their pedigree in this competition with a joint-high 3 victories. The way things are shaping up, they’ll either be beaten by the winner or they won’t - they will be the winners.
4th June - Germany vs Hungary (Friendly)
12th June - Germany vs Ukraine (Euro 2016)
16th June - Germany vs Poland (Euro 2016)
21st June - Northern Ireland (Euro 2016)