The wounds of the humiliation faced in the FIFA World Cup 2018 are still fresh in the German hearts and not much has magically changed since then.
Soon after the World Cup, Germany Men’s National team faced defeats against Netherlands and France in the UEFA Nations League. However, the imminent warning bells were sent ringing when they were thrashed 6-0 by Spain in the same tournament in late 2020.
Soon it was decided that coach Joachim Low would step down from the position following Euro 2020 and former Bayern Munich manager Hansi Flick would helm the team from thereon.
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But going into a tournament, knowing it’s your final outing with the side, is a weird place to be in. However, over the years, Low has bagged enough accolades to make him trustworthy for one final dance.
How’s the squad shaping up?
Germany has always seemed to find a fair mix of youth and experience and this year has been no different. The likes of Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Thomas Mueller and Toni Kroos have been around and experienced the highs and the lows. Meanwhile, players like Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz, Joshua Kimmich, Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan, who have had established club careers but are yet to hit the highs with the national team, will be filled with exuberance to perform at the grandest level.
The surprise addition of forward Kevin Volland, who smacked 16 goals and 8 assists in Ligue 1 with AS Monaco this season, has given a fallback option for Germany if Werner fails to take his chances.
Bringing in Atalanta fullback/wingback Robin Gosens has also added new dimensions to the German team. With him in the starting XI, Low’s side can line up with a three-at-the-back system and play a much more pragmatic brand of football.
Players who can make a difference
While the names that cross your mind first aren’t any surprise, however, Germany will be looking for a positive impact not only from the veterans but all quarters.
After he secured the Champions League for Chelsea with his goal in the final against Manchester City, a lot of German fans will be hoping for Havertz to turn up in a similar vein of form for the national side.
While his season hasn’t been one to write home about, he had a strong finish and starting in the German front three, he is bound a make a difference with his fluid movement and direct positional play.
Meanwhile, Bayern’s faithful servant and industrious Joshua Kimmich is an invaluable asset to the German team as he allows to switch tactics within games owing to his versatility. While his last outing in the World Cup wasn’t a memorable one, after the Group Stage exit, Kimmich has all the ability in the world to right the wrongs.
Very few goalkeepers, in spite of years of flawless performances, will make it to the list of key players for their teams. However, Neuer isn’t your everyday shot-stopper. He revolutionised his position to such an extent that there is hardly anyone on the globe who can do what he does, and consistently.
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At 35 years of age, he is still Germany’s numero uno and having his between the sticks will give the defensive line a lot of confidence.
Full squad for European Championship 2020:
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno, Manuel Neuer, Kevin Trapp
Defenders: Matthias Ginter, Robin Gosens, Christian Gunter, Marcel Halstenberg, Mats Hummels, Lukas Klostermann, Robin Koch, Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule
Midfielders: Emre Can, Leon Goretzka, Ilkay Gundogan, Kai Havertz, Jonas Hofmann, Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos, Florian Neuhaus
Forwards: Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala, Timo Werner, Leroy Sane, Kevin Volland
Group Stage schedule for European Championship 2020:
France vs Germany (12.30 AM IST): 16th June (Wednesday)
Portugal vs Germany (9.30 PM IST): 19th June (Saturday)
Germany vs Hungary (12.30 AM IST): 24th June (Thursday)