Germany could double up thanks to Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller and a handy knack of scoring penalties
Euro 2016 Preview: Germany
1. Manuel Neuer
Basically he’s the best goalkeeper in the world and that can only help Germany’s chances. He won the Golden Glove at the 2014 World Cup, which Germany won in no small part due to Neuer. If Germany have a weakness it’s their full-backs which means the German defence may have to deal with a lot of crosses. Having a goalkeeper who can dominate the box spreads confidence amongst the defence.
He’s also an excellent sweeper, unafraid to leave his box to snuff out potential danger. With Germany liable to be spending much of their time on the front-foot they could be vulnerable to quick counter-attacks, as we saw against Ireland in the group stages. Neuer’s awareness and speed to react could be needed. He’s also the only goalkeeper in over a decade to be nominated for the Ballon D’Or and nothing short of excellence is expected in France.
- Manuel Neuer to win Goalkeeper of the Tournament –
2. Thomas Muller
Nine goals in nine qualification games. He often looks like the last guy to be picked for a lunch time kick-about, lacking the grace of Lionel Messi or the raw athleticism of Cristiano Ronaldo. But he has that Gary Lineker-esque knack of being in just the right place when a defender misplaces a back-pass or a team mate scuffs a shot. With a Golden Boot and a Silver Boot from the last two World Cups we know he delivers on the big stage.
At 26 years of age he should be just approaching his peak playing years which means the best is yet to come. Muller is coming off his best ever club season where he scored 20 league goals for the first time. With an array of creative talent backing him up he may do little more than apply the finishing touch to a glorious sweeping move but there are better than doing just that.
- Muller to be Euro 2016 Top Goalscorer –
3. That midfield
Despite only having two midfield players over the age of 30 in their squad it’s an area which is packed full of talent and experience. And medals, lots and lots of winners’ medals.
Mesut Ozil had 19 Premier League assists for Arsenal last season. Toni Kroos, more of a holding player for Real Madrid, had 10 league assists. Lukas Podolski scored 13 goals and provided eight assists in the league for Galatasaray. Julian Draxler and Andre Schurle both impressed for Wolfsburg last season, then there’s the experience of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira and Karim Bellerabi. This is the best midfield array at the tournament and Joachim Low just needs to get the combination right. If he does this is a side which could run rampant.
- Germany to be the Highest Scoring Team –
4. Just won the World Cup
The last two European teams to win a World Cup turned right around and won the very next European Championship. As Jurgen Klopp would say Germany are in a good moment right now. They were made to fight harder than they’d have liked for their place in France but it’s on the big stage where Germany do their best work. Recent history has shown that the confidence of winning the World Cup feeds in to the next European Championship before the motivation starts to fade. The World Cup – Euros double is like the four minute mile, once it is achieved it quickly becomes the norm.
Germany to win Euro 2016 –
With 16 teams qualifying from the group stages there are now four rounds of knockout games to win the tournament. This increases the possibility of being in a penalty shoot-out, something which Germany have proved proficient at through the years. Although they are one for one at European Championships they are four for none at World Cups. Combining the 2 major finals Germany have won five of their six penalty shoot-outs for an 83% success rate. The best of any European team. In comparison England have won just one of seven on the same stages for a 14 per cent success rate.
- Germany to play France in the final –