Thursday, May 29, 2008

Euro 2008 Team Profiles: Germany

Boooooo hiiiiissssssss. Ze Germans. Ze clinical heartbreakers. Ze vell-organized XI with gameplans und strategies-oh alright, I'll cut the bad, borderline offensive German accent.

Germany is a country I don't much care for. I'm expected to not like them very much, you know, after those World War things, and although the new wave of German people are only irritating for how arrogantly they cut into the lines at theme parks and wake up early to put towels on the best beach chairs, there's still some lingering hatred.

Not much, but it's there.

Most of the hatred is born from jealousy [hey, I'm referencing something I wrote a while ago!], because their team is pretty fucking good. Boring at times, methodical, relentless, difficult to watch, but still pretty fucking good.

However, they roll into this tournament with a relatively new manager in Joachim Low [who took over after the '06 World Cup], and with a 12-year trophy drought. This is unannehmbar for a nation that's won 3 World Cups and 3 European Championships.

So, what are they bringing to the table? A young team with tons of efficient, effective stars. A solid track record in internationals under Low, and an air of confidence and ruthlessness not seen since the Fuhrer [really, I'm sorry for that attempt at a joke].

That's why I'm picking them for yet another third place finish.

Germany: they're kinda like Liverpool. They always finish off the pace despite the embarrassing array of talent they should be using to overwhelm anyone standing in their way.

Perhaps we could call them Thirdmany?


Jens Lehmann [Arsenal, still]
Robert Enke [Hannover 96]
Rene Adler [Bayer Leverkusen]

Marcell Jansen [Bayern Munich]
Arne Friedrich [Hertha Berlin]
Clemens Fritz [Werder Bremen]
Heiko Westermann [Schalke 04]
Philipp Lahm [Bayern Munich]
Per Mertesacker [Werder Bremen]
Christoph Metzelder [Real Madrid]

Simon Rolfs [Bayer Leverkusen]
Bastian Schweinsteiger [Bayern Munich]
Torsten Frings [Werder Bremen]
Michael Ballack (c) {Chelsea]
Piotr Trochowski [Hamburg]
Thomas Hitzlsperger [Stuttgart]
Tim Borowski [Werder Bremen]
David Odonkor [Real Betis]

Mario Gomez [Stuttgart]
Oliver Neuville [Borussia Monchengladbach]
Miroslav Klose [Bayern Munich]
Lukas Podolski [Bayern Munich]
Kevin Kuranyi [Schalke 04]

And now for the important questions:

(1) Could England beat this team?
Absolutely not. We've beaten them once in recent memory [although it was sweet... 5-1 in Munich with a Michael Owen hat-trick and a gorgeous Stevie G. goal back in 2001], but they're a cut above. They even beat us last August, 2-1, if thetre was any lingering doubt as to how crap England are against them.

(2) Can they win Euro 2008?
I believe so, although they're notorious for being strong out of the gate and fading towards the finish line. In '06 they were dominant against the likes of Ecuador and Costa Rica, but when they come up against an evenly-matched opponent like an Italy or Spain, they tend to get flustered and the confidence disappears. For me, it's all about whether Low can adapt to the adversity and battle through. They're great when they're under little pressure, but once you show some fight, they fold quite cheaply.

(3) What is their pre-made excuse for not winning Euro 2008?
Probably the lack of adequate preparation. The German domestic league isn't great competition by any means, their Euro '08 qualifying group provided little difficulty, and they're just not prepped. Their last friendly was back in March, and their last 5 games including qualifying for the tournament? A 3-0 defeat to the Czech Republic, 4-0 over Cyprus, a 0-0 with Wales (!!!), 3-0 over Austria and 4-0 over Switzerland. It's simply not enough heading into a tough competition.

(4) What is their biggest question mark?
Overcoming their mental issues. Simply put, this German team is great when the stakes are low. Throw them in the ring with Italy, and it all goes to pot. Their toughest opponent will be themselves in that respect. I doubt whether they can handle the rigors of facing the better Europeans teams.

(5) Who is their worst player?
I'll go with Jens Lehmann. He's 38, he hasn't played meaningfully for Arsenal for ages now (7 appearances this season. Seven!), and he's their first-choice option between the posts? Be afraid, people of Germany.... be very afraid.


The Fan's Attic said...

I sense an affinity for the word "lingering."

Lingering Bursitis said...

Yeah, it's a good word.

Is that comprehensive 2-0 defeat last night still lingering in your mind?

The NY Kid said...

7 of their likely starting XI are legitimate world-class footballers, and yet they will probably not make the Finals.

Lingering Bursitis said...

NY: Yeah, it speaks volumes to their fortitude, doesn't it?

Weird that they keep the old dogs around well past their sell-by date, too. Is there a talismanic influence to having Lehmann and Neuville still? Lehmann should be moving on rapidly from the international scene... he isn't playing another World Cup, so get him out!

Ian said...

I'd show her some of my lebensraum

Lingering Bursitis said...

My Maginot Line is especially stiff to her advances

The NY Kid said...

and here come the French jokes. Dammit, the Maginot line was a good idea, in theory.

Lingering Bursitis said...

I'd blitzkrieg that ass?

The NY Kid said...

ooh, much better.

The Fan's Attic said...

i'd let my luftwaffe bomb her ass.

Goat said...

Schiffer? I hardly knew 'er.

Andrew said...

I'm not sure if I'm the only resident German here (mother's 100%Bavarian, not that any of you Brits/Frenchies care), but there is no way, NO WAY, the Germans perform another Anschluss in Austria this June.

The Fan's Attic said...

andrew: not german, but a fan of the Die Nationalmannschaft. Seven years of German in HS and College and a semester in Berlin will do that to you.