One of the real big guns comes out to play on Day 3 of Euro2020 with England facing Croatia at Wembley Stadium.
Euro 2020 will be the last tournament in charge by esteemed manager Joachim Low. It has been known for some time this will be Low’s finale; his replacement is already waiting in the wings to come in and make wholesale changes.
Germany have won the championships multiple times as well as finishing runner-up on more than one occasion. They are a team that almost always performs on the big stage and are a country that’s football DNA has been the same for decades.
This is the first tournament in years that Germany isn’t spoken highly of winning, the team is in transition and performed poorly in the last World Cup as well as the European nations league last year.
Questions have been of why the German federation has continually backed Low after the last two poor performances. Low has always played the same rigid system and relied on the old guard of players for his German team; when he tried to introduce youth, the team failed spectacularly.
How Low has kept his job, no one knows.
The old warriors are plenty in these team, with previously dumped Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels back in the squad to provide veteran leadership and big tournament know-how.
Germany will need plenty of that to escape the ‘group of death’ they share with France, Portugal and Hungary. The German fans are trying to be optimistic, but the team is an incredibly tough group to get out of.
Who will score the goals will be the big issue for Germany.
The forwards they have selected are an eclectic mix of players. Serge Gnabry, Thomas Muller, Jamal Musiala, Timo Werner, Leroy Sane, Kevin Kolland are a good in terms of assisting goals, but Germany are missing an old fashioned number 9 to put the chances away.
Defensively, they are normally very efficient, but is an old backline that has been leaking goals in regular fashion over the past four years. Much will be expected in the coming years of Lukas Klostermann, Robin Koch, Antonio Rudiger, Niklas Sule.
The midfield has a lot of creativity with the old heads of Emre Can, Leon Goretzka, Ilkay Gundogan, Jonas Hofmann, Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos, Florian Neuhaus and Kai Havertz.
Havetz could be the star player for this team at the tournament. His big money move to Chelsea hasn’t gone as well as he would’ve liked, but towards the end of the season he managed to find some form.
Jamala Musiala is an 18-year-old who decided to choose Germany over England and has had a fairytale season breaking into the Bayern Munich first team and scoring several goals. He will provide some x-factor coming off the bench when called upon.
Musiala will be a key player for future tournaments as lows replacement, Hansi Flick has already stated one of his tasks will be rejuvenating this weary old squad which will result in Low’s rigid tactics and playbook thrown out for a fresh approach.
Some will say Low’s legacy will be about the good times, but for many it will be his reluctance to integrate the next generation of young German footballers into the national team fold.
German fans will be hoping for the best but, unfortunately even at their best, this German team won’t be good enough to win the tournament for a fourth time.