Today in the 5th of 16 blogs, I will take a look at one of the major contenders in this tourney. The Germans will face Poland at the Worthersee Stadium on June 8th.
On the 8th of June, the Germans will look to become champions of Europe for the 4th time. In Group A, the Germans will have to face two very close foes in Austria and Poland and a very underrated Croatia side. Germany's first match will be the most important in my opinion. Ever since that rainy day win over Poland, the two have really hated each other and it seems that the two always play a good match. Well, I expect the same for this tourney. If the Germans come out and lose to the Poles, they will have a very hard time getting out of the group. But if they win, they are instantly rolling into the second round.
Strength- One of the things that I love with the Germans is the fact that they have a very good mixture of players. The youngsters such as Podolski, Schweinsteiger, Lahm are combined with experienced footballers such as Ballack, Klose, Frings, and Mertesacker. The Germans also are one of the best defensive teams on the planet. The defence is so big in the middle that they are very hard to score on on a corner and are always a threat when earning corners. So, basically, the Germans are strong almost everyone.
Weakness- This side's one weakness is clear to me now that Oliver Kahn is gone. Jens Lehmann in the goal lacks something for me. I'm not trying to knock Lehmann, but he is starting to become an over-the-hiller. While he played well at the 2006 WC, I feel that this past season and his age will not help the Germans at all. Losing your starting job to a very average goalkeeper at your club team is not good, and the Germans are going to have to try to keep the ball away from their defensive box. If they can do that, they will be fine. Lehmann is going to save what he's supposed to, but they need more than that, and he's not going to give it to them anymore.
Player to Watch- Lukas Podolski. At the 06 WC, the 22 year-old made a big splash and won the "Young Player of the Tourney Award". At Bayern Munich this past season, Podolski scored a total of 10 goals in 40 apperances. While that may not seem impressive, he does have a defence. When you play with Ribery, Klose, and Toni, you may not score goals. I'm looking for Podolski to come out and play a lot like Klose did at the World Cup. He will be the main target, and even if you shut him down, you still have to contend with Klose. So regardless of how many goals he scores, Podolski will ultimately help his team win matches in this tourney.
Prediction- In a lackluster Group A, I see the Germans winning all three or maybe winning two and drawing one and taking the #1 spot from the group stages.
Once again, thanks. Tomorrow, I'll look at Greece. Until next time, it's been Keeper and I'm out.