A look at our rivals: Ze Zjermans


Okay, if we want to be consistent we will have to give some attention to our neighbours from the east….grudginly :-).

They are the most successful contender in Euros. They won it thrice and won silver thrice.

Last they won it, was 1996 and statistically, it appears to be their turn to win it again… And as Joachim Low’s squad impressed tremendously in the qualifications (both in terms of quality of play as in results), it might just well be a German summer again.

Unless we stop ‘m. And we could. At group level. But we will need to play a tad better than in the recent friendly.

West-Germany won it in 1972 with a team touted one of the best ever Euros line ups. They beat the USSR 2-0 and won the World Cup two years later. Forgot against who….

In 1976 they almost won the hattrick but Panenka spoiled that party with an…eh….panenka.

The 1972 had names like Beckenbauer, Netzer, Overath, Muller and Grabowski. Not bad…

In 1980 they won it again and in 1992 it was a shock defeat against another Group B nation – Denmark – that kept them from winning it again!

In 1996, Olivier Bierhoff scored twice ( one was a so-called golden goal) to win Germany the title against the Czechs, after trailing 0-1. After 1996, German football got in hot water. It needed a paradigm shift and it got one. With tremendous investments in youth development and a radical improvement of infrastructure. In 2000 and 2004, Germany got shamefully ousted early in the tournaments but in 2006’ World Cup, coach Klinnsmann demonstrated the results of this change in youth development. They ended with bronze in 2006 and silver in 2008 (losing against Spain in the finals). In 2009, the U21s won the European Cup and new manager Low used a lot of prospects from that team to sculpture an exciting young team for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where Holland was seen as “German” while Germany received the compliments of playing Dutch. Until they met Spain of course and they seemed to fear crossing the mid-line of the pitch.

In their qualifications group, Germany didn’t drop a single point and kept Turkey and Belgium at bay.

So, it’s us and them again… We met them in 1974…. And should have won. We met them in 1978. And won. We met them in 1988. And won. In 1990, we lost. In 1992, we won. In 2004, we drew and now we meet them again.

Three lines of words. Containing soooo much emotion, history, tension, drama and – for some – pure hatred.

But time heals all wounds. The link to that time in history seems to fade. We see more and more Dutch players enjoying their football in Germany and we start to even like teams like Schalke and Bayern Munich. If you told me this 10 years, I wouldn’t have believed you. I probably would have knocked you out, even :-).

For me, to actually like Die Mansschaft is a stretch. I do respect them. I think they did play ok at the World Cup ( but their abysmal performance against Spain took most respect away for that World Cup performance). If they deserve the win, I will be the first to admit it. But other than that, I would like to see them get egg on their face.

And if it will be Arjen Robben who does them in, well….let’s say I wouldn’t mind….

The Coach
Joachim Low made a name for himself in 2010 as the coach consuming the contents of his nose during games and because of his tactical skills. The now 52 year old was a moderate FC Freiburg player and would have moderate success as a coach for Stuttgart and Innsbruck. He became Klinsmann’s assistant in 2004 and took the reigns after the 2006 World Cup.
The Captain
Phillip Lahm was only 23 years old when he wore the band for the first time. Lahm takes his role serious but is a mild leader, focusing on team and accountability. Lahm is Bayern’s skipper as well and maintains a consistent level of quality. He is a solid defender but most definitely an attacking force as well.

The Goalkeeper
Manual Neuer was the U21 goalie in 2009 for Germany and is seen as a tremendous talent for some time already. Neuer was Germany’s starting goalie in 2010 in South Africa and impressed there as well. He moved from Schalke to Bayern in the summer of 2011.

Midfield Maestro
Bastian Schweinsteiger is the heart and lungs of the team. Mesut Ozil has the attacking flair and is seen as the artist, but Schweinsteiger determines the pace and rhythm of the team. Since Van Gaal placed Schweinsteiger in the Mark van Bommel role, he can direct the play in front of him and has he gained tremendous value for both Bayern as the German team.

Star striker
Mario Gomez is the prolific striker ( over the last two seasons) but Miro Klose is the man on fire in big tournaments. Klose works hard, has eye for team mates and rules in the air. He’s the only player ever to score more than 5 goals in two subsequent World Cups. He scored nine times in the qualification round and as Klose is born in Poland…

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