10 Reasons Germany Will Dominate Euro 2012
With the prestigious Euro competition just months away, players, fans and pundits alike have all began contemplating and predicting what is to happen next summer.
While some predict another runaway victory for Spain's golden generation, many view the Germans as their biggest competitors for the crown. With a team stacked with household names and a coach with a renewed emphasis on attacking football, it seems if anyone is to challenge Spain, it would have to be Germany.
This slideshow lists 10 reasons why Germany will dominate proceedings at Euro 2012.
The Height Factor
Though height is often an advantage downplayed by the "purists" of the game, the fact remains that a squad of tall players will often impose its will on and intimidate the opposition.
It allows all those involved on the pitch to display their presence to the other teams, as commentators often say: "Letting them know they're there." It helps in creating fear in the opposition, and a bit of apprehension for the others on their ventures forward.
It can also serve as a great tool both in defence and offense. Towering defenders like Mertesacker and Hummels will both be able to contribute by dealing with balls floated into the box while providing a "plan B" on the other end, normally in the event of a possible stalemate.
Of course, it also provides aerial presence from set pieces.
Germany has that advantage over other teams, as their players generally tend to tower over the opposition. Combine that with the great technical nuance the team has been recently showing under Joachim Low, and you have a deadly yet effective match-winning combination on your hands.
The common consensus amongst fans and pundits alike is that every good team needs a good keeper. In Manuel Neuer though, Germany have found a great one.
The former Shalke man arguably rose to prominence during last season's UEFA Champions League clash against Manchester United, in which he strung together several fine saves in an all-around impressive display which warranted him a handshake from Sir Alex Ferguson himself.
He now plies his trade with Bayern Munich, where he's continued his fine form, already breaking the club record of most consecutive clean sheets in the league (1000-plus minutes). Quite an accomplishment when you consider Oliver Kahn's 14-year run with the team.
Needless to say, Germany are in safe hands with Neuer at the back. His presence makes it twice as hard then to get anything past the Germans during next summer's competition.
Mats Hummels doesn't make this list simply because he's a great reader and all-around defender, though that adds an element of merit to his inclusion. It's because of what the Borrusia Dortmund defender can do when on the ball that really sets him apart from the others in Germany's back four.
Hummels is an excellent ball-playing defender. He's one of the few centre-backs in all of world football who can pick out a pass right from the back with great precision and set the up strikers with goal scoring opportunities. Whether it's with the inside or outside of his foot, over the top or on the ground, Hummels has the ability to pick out a pass many midfielders would be proud of.
Few teams will have the ability to mark and subdue Germany's midfield as it stands. Throw a ball-playing centre-back into the mix in Hummels, and the result is a destructive team capable of dismantling even the meanest of defences.
There are few more complete midfielders in the modern game—given the level of specialization given to every position now—than Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Capable of effectively playing all across the midfield, Schweinsteiger originally started off as a winger. However, his great dribbling skills, coupled with his superb reading of the game and uncontested vision, made him the perfect player to be deployed in the center of the midfield.
Essentially, Schweinsteiger is the heart of the team. Mostly playing either in a traditional CM position or more defensively as a CDM, few players at next summer's Euro are going to be able to contain him—let alone emulate him.
Mario Gotze, a name unfamiliar to most in Europe just over a year ago, is now a household name all across the globe. And why wouldn't it be?
The versatile playmaker guided Borussia Dortmund to a Bundesliga title in the injury absence of Shinji Kagawa last season, after which he established himself as a regular on the team. Despite being only 19 years of age, Gotze is the embodiment of the famous phrase, "If you're good enough you're old enough."
Gotze is a truly gifted and creative playmaker capable of taking on defences with his dribbling abilities. He can also play a ball with pinpoint accuracy and precision—something Mario Gomez will be grateful for come next summer.
With Miroslav Klose's seeming decline in ability (due to age), Mario Gomez looks set to lead the German line next summer. A few years ago, that might have been a concern for most supporters.
Today, however, there arguably isn't any player who could better fill that void.
Gomez's recent performances for both club and country is turning heads, as he's quickly establishing himself as one of Europe's most feared and lethal strikers. His predatory instincts, coupled with his ability to find the back of the net from literally anywhere in the box, make him a player capable of helping Germany dominate the Euros next year.
Experience vs. Spain
The Germans need little reminding—though I think they'd prefer it that way—of their last two defeats versus European and World champions Spain.
In both instances, Germany looked unbeatable, as they had played impressively throughout both tournaments. And on both occasions, it's been Spain that's gotten the better of them.
Given both Germany and Spain's apparent superiority over their other European counterparts, it seems highly likely that the two teams will once again face off against each other next summer. This time, however, Germany will likely look to avoid making the same mistakes they made before, ultimately helping their cause next summer.
Essentially, past experience versus the Spaniards will help them learn from their mistakes and this time actually register a win.
Strength in Depth
Germany boasts strength in squad depth most other European clubs would be lucky to have. Below is a list of some players who don't even make the starting lineup!
Jürgen Klinsmann's successor, Joachim Low, is undoubtedly the reason for Germany's evolution from robust, no-nonsense game play to attack-minded fast-paced entertainment.
The former German midfielder was responsible for promoting the likes of Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze way before many would have predicted. The result: free-flowing attractive football with an effectively destructive edge.
Low's tactical nuance cannot be undermined either, as he transformed the team from dark horses to actual international contenders. Under his reign, Germany have progressed to a Euro finals (2008) and FIFA World Cup Semifinals (2010), after which they finished third ahead of Uruguay to secure Bronze.
This is a slide that really requires no explanation.
Mesut Ozil, one of Europe's most creative playmakers, is who drives Germany's attack. Without him, the team simply wouldn't be able to perform at the levels we've grown accustomed to seeing.
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