Euro 2016 Scouting Report: What you need to know about Germany
Even when they’re bad, you can never discount the Germans, but having smashed all aside in Brazil two years ago, the reigning champions are very much one of the favourites to succeed this summer in France.
Germany have an excellent pedigree too, winning the competition three times and they’ve been beaten finalists on another trio of occasions.
It wasn’t all plain sailing in qualification, and there are certainly chinks in the armour, but there’s every reason to believe Joachim Low’s men will still be in the mix when many have long since departed.
Here’s what you need to know about the tournament’s second-favourites…
Danger Man – Mesut Ozil
If teams allow Mesut Ozil time and space to pick out any number of Germany’s pacey attackers, they will be punished.
His country may not rely on him as much as club team Arsenal do, but Ozil can split a defence like few others.
Stopping Ozil won’t necessarily stop Germany, but it’ll help.
Under the Radar – Andre Schurrle
Hankering for a move back to England, Andre Schurrle will be especially keen to impress this summer.
The Wolfsburg man boasts plenty of pace and endless energy, and just when you think you’ve got all of Germany’s angles covered – marking Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller etc, along comes the former Chelsea man.
20 goals in 50 international appearances is a stunning return, and Schurrle musn’t be forgotten about by opponents this summer.
The Lynch Pin – Manuel Neuer
Germany have revelled in what Manuel Neuer has given them, and that is effectively an extra sweeper.
Allowing the entire team to push much higher up, Germany have suffocated opponents thanks to Neuer’s antics.
If teams can put the Bayern stopper under pressure, and pin him back, they’ll pin the entire team back too.
At 7/2, Germany are rightly respected in the betting, and when it comes to the big tournaments, they turn up more often than not.
However, the world champions have lost three of their last five games, and came unstuck a few times in qualification, where they lacked that ruthless edge of old.
Incredibly this is the first major tournament where the Germans can’t call upon Miroslav Klose since the 2000 European Championships, and some will wonder if they can repeat their superb performances from Brazil two years ago.
Odds of 1/50 to qualify from the group reflect how shocking it would be if Joachim Low’s men fell at the first hurdle, but having lost to Poland in qualification, they’ll be wary of facing their neighbours again so soon.
Throw in underdog challengers Ukraine and Northern Ireland, and though on paper Germany should cruise through, they’ve been surprised enough times lately to hand their opponents some hope.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.