Germany are the most successful team in European Championship history, having won the competition a record three times. Their most recent success however came back in 1996 and, while they reached the final in Austria/Switzerland four years ago, Spain triumphed 1-0.
The country’s qualifying campaign was flawless with ten wins from ten games, 34 goals scored and only seven conceded. Miroslav Klose (nine goals) and Mesut Ozil (seven assists) were the Germans’ key players, although rising talents Mario Gotze and Marco Reus will be keen to steal their limelight at Euro 2012. Lesser known, but also extremely talented, is Mats Hummels, one of the Bundesliga’s best centre backs.
In The Dugout – Joachim Low
“If it had not been for Jurgen Klinsmann, I would probably be coach of Fortuna Leuben (an amateur side) now”, said Low, paying tribute to the former Germany coach, who chose him as his assistant when he replaced Rudi Voller after Euro 2004. Two years later, following Klinsmann’s resignation, Low took over, leading Germany to a runners-up spot at Euro 2008 and third at the 2010 World Cup. Before managing the national team, Low worked in Switzerland, Germany, Turkey and Austria, winning a German Cup in 1997 with Stuttgart and an Austrian league title in 2002 with Tirol Innsbruck. He is under contract with Germany until 2014.
Key Player – Manuel Neuer
The second most expensive goalkeeper of all-time, last season Neuer showed that Bayern Munich had not wasted a single cent of the €22M it took to sign him from Schalke. In the Bundesliga, the German broke Oliver Kahn’s Bayern Munich record for the most competitive clean sheets in a row, going over 1,000 minutes without conceding. The Champions League also saw Neuer playing a key role in the Bavarians reaching the final as he saved penalties from Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka in the Bernabeu. Neuer played every single minute of Germany’s Euro 2012 qualification campaign, conceding only seven goals in ten games.
View from Germany
Germany are considered favourites to lift the trophy alongside Spain, and the country’s media are very confident about their chances. However, the Champions League final lost by Bayern Munich saw enthusiasm in the country cool a little. It is not always the best (or the most talented) team that wins – that is a lesson recently learnt through Chelsea’s victory at the Allianz Arena.
Germany have everything needed to win Euro 2012: talent, solidity, an attacking mentality, and a "team first" attitude. The hardest part of Low’s job will be finding his best eleven players, especially in midfield where the country have an embarrassment of riches with Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Mario Gotze, Marco Reus, Thomas Muller and Lukas Podolski all able to slot in. Up front it will be a hard choice for Low too between goal machines Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose. Should the cards fall right, Germany are likely to be celebrating a fourth European Championship success.