Germany come into the Euros as naturally one of the favourites to win the whole thing but have arguably the toughest opening two fixtures of any team in the tournament. Head coach Joachim Low will seek to steer his side past both France and Portugal in the ‘Group of Death’ before a more routine clash with Hungary to wrap up the group stage.
Luckily for Low even the third-placed teams in the Euros groups can progress to the last-16 but the boss isn’t likely to be thinking of losing those opening two clashes. With the likes of Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Kai Havertz, Thomas Muller and Timo Werner in the squad, the Germany national football team will pose a threat to any team this summer.
Never write off the Germans. They have reached the semi-finals in each of the last three Euros and made it to the final in 2008 before losing to Spain. Anything less than a semi-final berth here would be seen as failure. The nation has won this tournament three times – most recently in 1996 – and are four-time World Cup winners too. Remarkably, Germany have only twice failed to escape a Euros group stage, so they’re unlikely to be worried about this one even with the opposition they’ll face.
Germany’s road to the Euros started with their toughest challenge of the qualifying campaign: a 3-2 win in the Netherlands. That set the tone for what would be a straightforward qualification campaign that saw them lose just one game in 10 and average three goals per outing. Serge Gnabry finished top scorer in the group with 8 goals, while Leon Goretzka bagged four.
Low likes to deploy a 4-3-3 or 3-4-3 system, with Kimmich sitting in midfield protecting the defence. That gives the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Toni Kroos and Goretzka the freedom to support the forward line of Muller, Werner and Gnabry. Either Hummels or Antonio Rudiger hold forth in central defence, while Havertz and Marco Reus can all be deployed to deadly effect from the bench. With so much talent, selecting the Germany Euros team is an unenviable task for Low.
Munich is a host city at the Euros and Germany will all three of their games at the Arena, starting with a mouth watering clash against world champions France on 15 June. Home advantage gives Germany a slight edge over their rivals, while winning Group F could see them come up against the likes of Wales, Russia or Ukraine in the last-16.
Manuel Neuer (c)