Germany: Favourites for the Euros? Part 5 of 5: Strengths and Weaknesses
Goals – Germany were the top scorers in both of the last two World Cups, scoring 14 goals in 2006 and 16 in 2010. They also boast the top individual scorer for these World Cups, as Thomas Muller racked up 5 goals in 2010 and Miroslav Klose scored the same amount in 2006. Overall, Klose has struck 63 goals in 113 games for his country, Gomez has got 21 in 50 matches, Podolski 43 in 95 and Muller 10 in 25. You may think they have all been scored in friendlies or dead rubber qualification games, but looking closer that doesn’t seem right. Klose is the second top scorer ever in World Cups, with 14 goals, just one behind Ronaldo, and Muller and Podolski have each hit 5 in their World Cup matches. Podolski and Klose have got 3 and 2 goals respectively in European Championships, and Muller is yet to play in one. Mario Gomez has never really been given a chance in big tournaments so we can rule him out of this.
Transitional play – As described in Part 2 under “Attack,” Germany’s counterattacking play is phenomenal and their speed will cause problems to every team they face next summer.
Movement – The movement of the German players in attack is bewildering and excellent at the same time. As seen in the same goal I mentioned in Part 2, Muller and Ozil switch positions with great understanding and Ozil delivers an inch-perfect cross for Klose to head in. In Part 1, I mentioned ‘The Magic Triangle’ of these three aforementioned players and their movement will be key to Germany’s success (or lack thereof) in Poland and Ukraine next summer.
Squad Depth – I would argue that Germany’s squad is the second strongest after Spain, and you can see this with the sheer quality of players vying for starting places in the side. For example, for the No 10 role, you could have any of Mesut Ozil, Mario Goetze, Toni Kroos, Lewis Holtby or Marco Reus.
Physical Fitness – Germany’s counterattacking style demands a high workrate and good stamina. This system becomes brutal once the opponents begin to tire towards the end of the match. Just watch the second half of their 4-1 demolition of England in the World Cup last year and you’ll ee what I mean.
Leadership – As Michael Ballack will seemingly never play for Germany again, it’s likely Philipp Lahm will continue as captain for the foreseeable future. Some outspoken comments in his autobiography (read this piece) caused some controversy over in Germany and his leadership skills have since come into question.
Defence – Having kept just two clean sheets in 13 games in 2011 (one against Holland, the other against Kazakhstan), it is clear that Joachim Loew needs to tighten the ship in order for them to improve even more. Their defense is arguably made up of lots of physicality but little technicality, however this may change with the introduction of players such as Mats Hummels.
I know this was a relatively short piece, but please forgive me as I am at work and doing this while my boss is working right opposite me! I thought it would be nice to finish the series with a short piece summing up their strong and weak points, and I hope I’ve covered most of them. If you feel I’ve missed any out, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
Coming up, I will be writing a 5-part series about England, with the same sort of pieces as I have done for this series, and maybe another 5-part series about Spain. I will also start to do some more regular tactical match reviews (like the brilliant Zonal Marking).