Euro 2012: Player-by-Player Guide to Germany's Squad
Germany start their Euro 2012 campaign June 9 against Portugal at the Arena Lviv, in Lviv, Ukraine.
After winning 10 matches out of 10 in qualification, Germany will attempt to turn their 100 percent winning qualification record into finals points—a feat that isn't so easy when you've been handed a place in the Group of Death alongside Portugal, Netherlands and Denmark.
Now that Joachim Low has finalised his 23-man squad, here is a quick run-through of who is involved.
26-year-old goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world at present, and as he matures he is surely only going to improve.
The Bayern Munich shot-stopper recently took a penalty in the Champions League final penalty shoot out against Chelsea, scoring comfortably.
Neuer played every minute of Germany's qualification games for Euro 2012, winning 10 out of 10 matches.
Tim Wiese is considered to be Germany's second choice goalkeeper behind Manuel Neuer.
Wiese has just six caps to his name, despite being 30 years of age.
He currently plays his league football for 1899 Hoffenheim after recently signing from Werder Bremen.
Bayern Munich central defender Holger Badstuber has risen to prominence under the management of Germany national team coach Joachim Low.
The 23-year-old was selected more than any other German defender in the qualification matches for Euro 2012, suggesting that he is a first choice when it comes to Germany's starting XI.
Badstuber is expected to play at the heart of Germany's defense throughout Euro 2012.
Jerome Boateng never really seemed to find his feet when he was at Manchester City in the 2010/11 season, and ultimately decided it would be better for his career if he moved back to Germany.
He now—like much of the German national team—plays his club football for Bayern Munich, and enjoys the status as one of Germany's plethora of young, talented defenders.
Boateng is 23 years old and likely to feature heavily for Germany, depending on the formation Joachim Low deploys.
Philipp Lahm is the captain of the German national side as well as for his club, Bayern Munich.
Lahm is considered to be one of the best full backs that has ever played the game and has notched 84 caps for the German national side to date.
Look for Lahm to attempt to drive his side forward from defense during Euro 2012.
His place in the national side is assured.
Another young defender in the German national side is Benedikt Hoewedes of Schalke 04.
Hoewedes is the captain of Schalke, despite being just 24 years of age.
Hoewedes featured mainly as a substitute in qualifying for Euro 2012, playing in just four of Germany's 10 matches.
Expect similar usage during the tournament itself.
23-year-old Mats Hummels is Germany's poster boy at the heart of defence.
Hummels plays his club football for Borussia Dortmund where he gained great notoriety after forming a formidable partnership with Neven Subotic in the Bundesliga.
Hummels—as great as he is—may suffer match time due to the amount of quality defenders Germany have to choose from.
Another defender, another in his mid-twenties. Marcel Schmelzer has a lot of work to do in order to break into the Euro 2012 starting XI.
The full back will be competing with Germany captain Philipp Lahm and Jerome Boateng for the available starting berths, but I don't expect him to garner much time on the pitch.
A backup squad player seems his likely role.
Per Mertesacker completes Germany's defensive options at centre half.
The 6ft 6inch Arsenal player has been recovering from an ankle injury since the end of the Premier League season, so his inclusion in the Germany 23-man squad was a little surprising.
Meresacker is vastly experienced and has 81 international caps.
Lars Bender is a 23-year-old midfielder who plays his club football for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.
Not to be confused with snubbed twin brother Sven, Lars faces stiff opposition if he expects to feature in the German starting XI during Euro 2012.
He currently has six caps to his name.
Sami Khedira is one of Germany's better known midfielders due to his club profile at Real Madrid.
Khedira featured in eight of Germany's 10 qualification matches for Euro 2012, setting up two goals in the process.
Khedira's ability to hold the midfield will allow more attack minded players to advance further up the pitch in support of the strikers.
Khedira is 25-years old and has 27 international caps.
Over the past few seasons Toni Kroos has integrated himself more and more into first team action for Bayern Munich. As a result, he now finds himself part of Germany's international set up.
Kroos is a central midfielder who is also capable of playing on the wing, a versatility that likely aided his selection in the final 23-man squad.
Kroos is 22-years old and has 26 international caps.
22-year-old Thomas Muller won the Best Young Player award as well as the Golden Boot award in the 2010 World Cup.
No wonder then that he now features regularly for the German national side.
Muller is a player who can operate either in midfield or attack—a role he has performed frequently for club side Bayern Munich.
Muller scored three goals and garnered five assists in the 10 Euro 2012 qualification matches he played in.
Mesut Ozil is one of Germany's most exciting, creative and consistent footballers.
Currently plying his domestic trade for Real Madrid, Ozil has a reputation for generating a high number of assists—the seven that came in qualification seems to evidence that fact.
Ozil featured in nine of Germany's 10 qualifying matches and notched five goals.
Look for him to be the string puller for Germany.
Marco Reus only featured for 20 minutes throughout Germany's Euro 2012 qualification campaign, but his versatility between midfield and attack likely aided his push for a place in the 23-man squad.
Reus scored 18 league goals for Borussia Monchengladbach in the Bundesliga last season and is 23-years old.
These days Bastian Schweinsteiger is considered to be somewhat of a utility player for Germany.
Able to operate in a variety of positions, Schweinsteiger has found his feet as a defensive midfield rock for his country.
His starting XI status is not assured anymore, but he will be the first man to call upon when Joachim Low needs to shut up shop.
Andre Schuerrle has an excellent goalscoring record for the German national team, scoring seven times in 14 matches to date.
Able to operate on the wing or in attack, Schuerrle has an work rate that is second to none and will likely be deployed as an impact player coming off the bench.
He is 22-years old.
Arsenal moved earlier this year to secure the services of Lukas Podolski as they look to bring an end to their trophy-barren years.
Podolski offers a variety of tactical deployments, either in attack, in an offensive midfield position or on the wing.
Podolski has scored 43 goals in 97 international appearances for Germany. Surely he will add to that in Euro 2012.
Germany just have an abundance of world class 20-somethings that can play in various positions. Mario Goetze is perhaps the best of the bunch.
At 20 years of age, Goetze lacks a little of refined abilities of some of his team mates, but has been tipped to become one of the best in the world.
Goetze currently plays for Borussia Dortmund and scored six goals in 17 league appearances last season.
Perhaps a surprise inclusion for Joachim Low's 23-man squad was Ilkay Guendogan.
Guendogan plays his club football in midfield for Borussia Dortmund but has just two international caps to date.
At just 21 years of age, Guendogan has plenty of time to increase his quota, but I can't see it happening in this tournament.
22 goals in 52 international appearances is the strike rate provided by 26-year-old Mario Gomez.
The Bayern Munich striker notched six goals and an assist in his six Euro 2012 qualification appearances for Germany—a statistic that still won't guarantee him a starting berth.
Miroslav Klose is a living legend.
The Germany and Lazio striker is second on the list of all-time World Cup goalscorers and has notched 63 goals in 116 appearances for Germany.
For those that think he is over the hill at 33, Klose scored nine goals in just six Euro 2012 qualification appearances and is my tip as a dark horse for the Euro 2012 golden boot.
All statistics courtesy of www.UEFA.com. On Twitter? Follow me @petercwebster where I post all my B/R content.