Predicting Germany Starting XI at Euro 2012
Germany will win Euro 2012. Hopefully Joachim Löw's men vindicate my prediction.
The No. 1 issue with the German national team is right-back.
When Philipp Lahm starts on the left, Löw would rather play a centre-back on the right—which seems odd.
It could come back to haunt Löw and I will bring it up if it does.
Here is my projected German starting XI at Euro 2012.
Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)
Manuel Neuer is allergic to Borussia Mönchengladbach because there is no other reason to explain his baffling mistakes in those two big encounters which cost Bayern Munich six points.
Marc-André ter Stegen had played better this season but Joachim Löw isn't keen on throwing the 20-year-old into the deep end.
100 percent. Neuer is the undisputed No. 1 for Germany.
It was bizarre that Tim Wiese got a call up to the national team when ter Stegen, Sven Ulreich and Bernd Leno have clearly been better goalkeepers.
Right-Back: Jérôme Boateng (Bayern Munich)
In the 2-0 win over Manchester City, Jérôme Boateng was world-class as he made two last man tackles and intercepted the ball six times.
He reads the play very well, is composed in possession and has excellent physical attributes.
Going forward, Bayern Munich should persist with a Boateng-Holger Badstuber partnership.
50 percent. Boateng gets frustrated when he isn't played at centre-back.
On form, Joachim Löw should have given Tony Jantschke a chance.
Assuming Philipp Lahm starts at left-back, Löw will choose between Boateng and Benedikt Höwedes for right-back.
Centre-Back: Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich)
Holger Badstuber is a commanding presence at the back and a safe outlet when distributing possession.
He seems so angry on the football field especially towards his own teammates—poor Philipp Lahm cops so much abuse from Badstuber.
So I'm surprised he has only received eight yellow cards this season—unfortunately, he'll be suspended for the UEFA Champions League final.
I'm sure as he matures, he'll become more of a leader as opposed to someone verbally abusing his teammates.
You do not want another Arjen Robben-Franck Ribéry incident.
100 percent. He is one of the best centre-backs in the Bundesliga this season.
He will miss the Champions League final, so he has a chip on his shoulder, and he'll perform for Germany at Euro 2012.
Centre-Back: Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)
Mats Hummels is one of my favourite players to watch.
He may not be as elegant of a passer as Gerard Piqué, but Hummels is definitely a more confident tackler.
For me, he is the best centre-back in the Bundesliga and kicker agree.
85 percent. If Joachim Löw decides to take a punt on Per Mertesacker's fitness, Hummels will make way.
Not only has Mertesacker not played a game since February, but his form has been terrible.
He has been exposed and left high and dry by Arsenal's high line.
Left-Back: Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)
Another routine season for Philipp Lahm.
Here's an incredible stat: he completes 82 percent of long passes and remember, he is a full-back.
It's almost been six years since he scored that wonderful goal against Costa Rica.
100 percent. Arguably the best full-back in the world and probably the only full-back who can be excellent on both sides.
If he starts on the left, it will crush the dreams of Dennis Aogo and Marcel Schmelzer, who are the candidates to start at left-back if Lahm plays on the right at Euro 2012.
Defensive Midfielder: Sami Khedira (Real Madrid)
Sami Khedira has bought into José Mourinho's team orientated approach to football.
As a result, the marauding box-to-box Khedira of the past is consigned to archival footage.
Under Mourinho, Khedira is tactically disciplined, keeps within his zone and works hard. However, he still isn't an undisputed starter for the Special One.
70 percent. It depends if Joachim Löw factors in Toni Kroos' form for Bayern Munich. He won back possession on many occasions, created goals for his teammates and worked hard in midfield.
There's no doubt in my mind that he has played better than Khedira this season.
Defensive Midfielder: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich)
Bastian Schweinsteiger was imperious as he orchestrated play and dictated tempo—until he broke his collar bone.
Prior to the injury, he was exceptional and now he is still class, but it cut what could have been a wonderful individual season for him.
Nonetheless, he converted the pivotal penalty which broke José Mourinho's heart—a bit of payback for happened on May 22, 2010.
It's the first time in seven years that Schweinsteiger hasn't played 40 games or more in a season for Bayern Munich.
100 percent. He is one of the most gifted, versatile and classy midfielders in the world.
Right Attacking Midfielder: Thomas Müller (Bayern Munich)
Disappointing. Looked lost, frustrated and was unproductive compared to last season.
Thomas Müller fans will point the finger at Arjen Robben but the German needs to build a bridge and get over it because he'll be spending another three years with Robben.
From a footballing perspective, he has only scored and created a combined four goals when he has started on the right for Bayern Munich.
When he is playing centrally, it rises to 10, and if he played there every game, he would have scored 20 goals which is the mark he should reach every season.
75 percent. If Mario Götze didn't spend extended periods of this season out injured, he would be starting for Germany.
He would have been looking like class week in, week out whilst Müller struggled with consistency.
Slotting Götze in as a wide attacking midfielder seems an attractive option but Joachim Löw will persevere with Müller.
Centre Attacking Midfielder: Mesut Özil (Real Madrid)
It's a joy to watch Mesut Özil play because he is a genius.
People used to remark how Michael Laudrup's teammates didn't need to read the Dane's mind, more so, just run and the maestro would deliver.
I feel that can also be applied to Özil because he has created so many goals for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Özil is a selfless individual and would rather make the pass than score the goal.
100 percent. In a 4-2-3-1, it's imperative that the centre attacking midfielder facilitates more than he shoots.
Left Attacking Midfielder: Lukas Podolski (Arsenal)
With Milivoje Novakovič enduring such a horrible season, Lukas Podolski has stepped up for Köln.
He has scored and created 63 percent of Köln's goals—the highest percentage for an individual player in the Bundesliga.
95 percent. André Schürrle is better in a wide role because he is a more incisive dribbler and better at winning back possession.
However he is still raw and the safer option would be starting Podolski.
Centre Forward: Mario Gómez (Bayern Munich)
Mario Gómez has scored 41 goals and provided six assists in 49 games, so a goals scored/created average of 0.95 per game.
For comparisons sake, Miroslav Klose's average for Lazio is 0.76.
85 percent. It really depends on Klose because as great as Gómez is at club level, he has yet to replicate that form for Germany.
Klose has 37 more days to recover from a torn muscle. Prior to the injury, he had only scored once in his last five games.
Even if Klose recovers in time, he would be short on match-fitness and it would more logical to start Gómez.
My Preferred Starting XI
Goalkeeper: Marc-André ter Stegen (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
For me, the best European-based goalkeeper this season. Read here.
Right-back: Tony Jantschke (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
Refreshing to see a full-back that can actually tackle.
Centre-back: Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich)
Can be ferocious in the tackle and wears his heart on his sleeve.
Centre-back: Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund)
Outstanding vision and good tackler.
Left-back: Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich)
One of the best full-backs in the world.
Defensive midfielder: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen)
Underrated but I rate him higher than brother Sven. Lars wins back possession more and distributes more efficiently than Sven.
Defensive midfielder: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich)
Right Attacking Midfielder: Mario Götze (Borussia Dortmund)
A wunderkind who has lived up to the hype so far.
Centre Attacking midfielder: Mesut Özil (Real Madrid)
Sophisticated and efficient.
Left Attacking Midfielder: André Schürrle (Bayer Leverkusen)
Great dribbler but also puts in the hard yards.
Centre forward: Mario Gómez (Bayern Munich)
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