Now for present day Germany, which has evolved into their current formation of a 4-5-1 (4-2-3-1) somewhere in 2009/2010. The fact that the 2009-10 club season is where Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller blossomed for Bayern (under Louis Van Gaal using the same system) also had a lot to do with the success of these tactics at the national team level.
The looming question is not necessarily tactical but why can’t the Dortmund players repeat their club performance on a national team level? The likelihood of the 2-time defending Bundesliga champs who start upwards of 6 German players not having one starter on the national team come June 9th is pretty high. Mats Hummels (stolen from Bayern thanks to Klinsmann) would be the odds on favorite to be the lone Dortmund player in the starting 11.
My major criticism of Löw is that he has been fortunate in how certain things have played out. If Michael Ballack does not suffer the ankle injury in the FA Cup Final would Jogi have gone full bore into the youth movement? I doubt it. Heck, Thomas Müller only made his national team debut (March 2010) 2 months before Ballack’s injury and 3 months later he was the Golden Boot winner (again Van Gaal may have had as important a role in Germany’s run due to Bayern’s success running the 4-2-3-1 scheme).
More proof of this is how Jogi let Lahm declare he was the captain following the 2010 World Cup while leaving Ballack more or less blowing in the win. Most people don’t like to deal with confrontation, but the acrimonious departure could likely have been handled much better. And if you are a national team manager it’s part of the job.
Lastly, the biggest hang-up I have is the way Germany played against Spain in the 2010 World Cup semifinal. They played tentatively and changed very little in terms of ceding control of the game and whatever the plan was from the 2008 Euro Final in which they hung back and seemingly waited for Spain to do something (ie score a goal). Players make plays, but coaches put them in the spots to make plays or not in this instance.
Likely lineup on June 9:
Lahm Badstuber Hummels Boateng
Key Reserves: Höwedes, Kroos, Götze, Reus, Schürrle, Gomez
June 9 vs Portugal
Germany: 8-3-5 (w-l-t) all-time vs Portuguese
Won last meeting in 2008 Euro Quarterfinals (3-2)
4th meeting since 2000
June 13 vs Netherlands
Germany: 14-10-14 all-time vs Dutch
Won last meeting in November 2011 (friendly, 3-0)
Netherlands 2-0-1 in last 3 meetings in Euros (1988, 1992, 2004)
Heated neighbor rivalry to say the least
June 17 vs Denmark
Germany: 14-8-3 all-time vs Danes
Denmark* defeated Germany 2-0 in 1992 Euro Final (*only getting into the tourney after Yugoslavia erupted into war. That loss was one of the most disappointing results in German history. Defending World Cup champs losing to team they shouldn’t, a harbinger of things to come under former Manager Berti Vogts.)
F Miroslav Klose
Near record goal scorer who keeps on plugging for the National Team even if at the twilight of his career. Needs 5 goals to tie Gerd Müller’s German national team record of 68 goals (the fact that Müller did it in 62 games as opposed to Klose’s 115 games and counting not withstanding).
The engine that makes Germany’s offense go. Coming off a fantastic club campaign for Real Madrid in which he helped Real take the league title back from Barca as well as leading La Liga with 17 assists. Özil’s value on a club and international level has only increased since the 2010 World Cup.
M Bastian Schweinsteiger
Pretty simple, Germany’s chances this summer could largely hinge on Schweini’s health and form. As important as Özil is, Schweinsteiger is the calming veteran influence on the team (particularly on the field). And while Schweini is entering his 5th major tournament he is still only 27 years old. This summer might be telling as to whether he joins the short list of German players who just couldn’t win the big one or etch his name among the greats to have led Germany to glory.
D Philipp Lahm
The Captain. Willing to say what needs to be said publicly and extremely dangerous on the attack. He can play either left or right back. .
GK Manuel Neuer
He has rapidly risen into the conversation of best goalies in the world. Neuer has plenty of experience with porous defending in front of him and in PK shootouts. At times he can stand on his head, but of course like all goalkeepers has a maddening tendency to give up a head scratcher.
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