Tag Archives: Joachim Low

Top Ten Best-Paid Managers In The World

best-paid managers

Brazilian sports business consultants – Pluri Consultoria – have this week published online a list of the best-paid football managers in the world, by annual salary.

There is no surprise who heads the pack but there are some interesting names on the list. Here at IntoTheTopCorner, we have a look at the top ten managers from that rich list…

10. ROBERTO MANCINI (MANCHESTER CITY | €5.9 MILLION)

Roberto-Mancini

When you are managing a club owned by oil-rich owners you are expected to be earning a huge annual salary and it’s no surprise to see the current Manchester City manager on the list, perhaps that he is tenth on the list is a bit surprising. The former Inter and Lazio boss has won the FA Cup and the Premier League during his time at Eastlands and is at the helm of Europe’s few undefeated teams in the league this season.

9. JOSE CAMACHO (CHINA | €5.9 MILLION)

Jose-Camacho

In order to catch up with the Asian heavyweights like Japan and South Korea, the rich Chinese FA searched in many parts of Europe – mainly the Netherlands, Germany and Spain – for an experienced coach, and appointed Jose Camacho. The former Spain and Real Madrid coach was given the job with objective of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Despite his huge annual paycheck the Spaniard failed and is now preparing for next year’s Asian Cup.

8. TITO VILANOVA (BARCELONA | €7 MILLION)

Tito-Vilanova

Taking over at Barcelona is not an easy job especially from the club’s most successful manager in history – Pep Guardiola. However, the former assistant is justifying his millions in his first top-flight job and currently has a win rate of 86%, which is more than his predecessor. The Catalan giants are 11 points clear of Real Madrid in the league and through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

7. FABIO CAPELLO (RUSSIA | €7.8 MILLION)

Fabio-Capello

A CV boasting of five Serie A titles, one Champions League and two La Liga titles, it’s no surprise that the Italian is the best-paid international manager in the world during his current tenure as Russia coach. His current salary is a slight increase than what he earned during his time as England coach, where his contributions were a bit disappointing. However, the Russians under Capello are undefeated with five win in seven games and are at the top of their World Cup qualifying group.

6. GUUS HIDDINK (ANZHI MAKHACHKALA | €8.3 MILLION)

Guus-Hiddink

Like Capello, the Dutchman has also enjoed a long and successful managerial career at club and international level. After failing to qualify for Euro 2012 in Poland & Ukraine with Turkey, Hiddink joined the Russian moneybags earlier this year. With Anzhi second in the Russian Premier League, the former Chelsea boss has announced that his current annual paycheck will be the last one as he will be retiring at the end of the season.

5. ARSENE WENGER (ARSENAL | €9.3 MILLION)

Arsene-Wenger

With his intelligent spending, innovative training techniques and brilliant ability to develop youngsters, the Frenchman might be the cleverest manager in the game and he gets very well paid for that. Wenger has delivered three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and 15 consecutive seasons of Champions League football since taking over at Arsenal in 1996. Yet his willingness to sell Arsenal’s best players has been identified as a major flaw by the fans. With the Gunners virtually out of the title race, Wenger’s days may be numbered if his team fails to finish in the top four.

4. SIR ALEX FERGUSON (MANCHESTER UNITED | €9.4 MILLION)

Sir-Alex-Ferguson

The Scot has been at the same job – Manchester United – for over 25 years, which makes his annual salary seem relatively modest compared to ones above him in the list. The Red Devils were in deep trouble when he took over and has made them one of most successful teams in the world by winning 12 league titles, two Champions Leagues, five FA Cups and four League Cups. This season, Sir Alex’s side remain on course for yet another league title and have also reached the last-16 of the Champions League.

3. MARCELLO LIPPI (GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE | €10 MILLION)

Marcello-Lippi

A manager whose resume boasts a World Cup, five Serie A titles and a Champions  League is expected to earn an annual salary in double figures. The former Italy coach joined the Chinese Super League champions in May this year on a two-and-a-half year contract worth up to €30 million. So far, Lippi has fulfilled the club’s expectations by guiding them to their second consecutive league title in October and also by winning the Chinese FA Cup in November for the first time evert in the club’s history.

2. CARLO ANCELOTTI (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN | €13.5 MILLION)

Carlo-Ancelotti

The Italian proved that getting sacked at Chelsea doesn’t put a dent to your managerial career when he signing a multi-million Euro deal to take over at Qatar-funded PSG last year. He took charge when the French side were at the top of the league, but failed to guide them to the title. Despite spending heavily during the transfer windows, he has yet to bring any silverware to the Paresians. However, the former Milan boss could turn things around this season, as PSG are third in the league – five points behind Lyon – and are through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

1, JOSE MOURINHO (REAL MADRID | €15.3 MILLION)

Jose-Mourinho

The Portuguese takes home the largest amount each year and it is hardly surprising given his extraordinary record since guiding Porto to an historic treble in 2003. The Special One has won league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain and has also won the Champions League with Porto and Inter. However, things aren’t going well for him in the current campaign, with Los Blancos 11 points behind leaders Barcelona. Such a margin is a bit too much in the La Liga and if Mou fails to bring the Champions League to the Bernabeu, he might get his marching orders at the end of the season.

Here are the remaining twenty managers from the 30-man rich list..

11. Frank Rijkaard (Saudi Arabia | €5.3 Million)
12. Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich | €5.2 Million)
13. Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham Hotspur | €4.5 Million)
14. Harry Redknapp (Queens Park Rangers | €4 Million)
15. Jorge Jesus (Benfica | €4 Million)
16. David Moyes (Everton | €3.6 Million)
17. Manuel Pellegrini (Malaga | €3.6 Million)
18. Paulo Autuori (Qatar | €3.6 Million)
19. Abel Braga (Fluminense | €3.5 Million)
20. Luciano Spaletti (Zenit St Petersburg | €3.3 Million)
21. Antonio Conte (Juventus | €3 Million)
22. Cesare Prandelli (Italy | €3 Million)
23. Luxemburgo (Gremio | €3 Million)
24. Muricy (Santos | €3 Million)
25. Tite (Corinthians | €3 Million)
26. Ottmar Hitzfeld (Switzerland | €2.6 Million)
27. Joachim Low (Germany | €2.5 Million)
28. Marcelo Biesla (Athletic Bilbao | €2.5 Million)
29. Martin O’Neill (Sunderland | €2.5 Million)
30. Roy Hodgson (England | €2.5 Million)

Germany v Italy Preview

Joachim Low’s Germany will have to defy history if they are to beat Italy today at the National Stadium in Warsaw and set up a repeat of the 2008 final against Spain on Sunday.

Germany boss Joachim Low knows his side must disturb Juventus midfielder Andrea Pirlo, who was allowed to dictate play in Italy’s quarter-final victory over England. Low said: “He’s the Italian player who directs the game. “We have to disturb him, stop him playing, get in his way, and think of a way how we can do better than Italy in midfield.” But Low has also called for focus from his own side, believing they must play to the strengths which has seen them win all their games so far. “It’s a confidence thing. We have to be cheeky, strong and brave,” he said. “We have to concentrate and work very hard. I don’t think we have to worry too much about our opponents. We have to impose our own ideas.”

Despite never having lost a competitive match against Germany, Italy coach Cesare Prandelli knows it will be tough to beat their opponents. “The Germans, alongside Spain, are the favourites to win the European Championship,” he said. “I’m not the first to discover how good they are, they are playing very well.”

TEAM NEWS

Germany

Low has received a boost with the news influential midfielder Bastian Schweinsteigerwill be fit after shrugging off a sore ankle following the 4-2 win over Greece. But he has decisions to make after surprisingly leaving Arsenal new-boy Lukas Podolski, Thomas Muller and tournament top scorer Mario Gomez out of his starting line-up against Greece. He is expected to restore the trio to his side, despite Marco Reus and Andre Schurrle adding pace to the German attack in their place, while Miroslav Klose scored against the Greeks.

Italy

For Italy, the team’s medical staff are doing their bets’ to get injured Daniele De Rossi, Ignazio Abate and Giorgio Chiellini back to fitness for the game, with the trio undergoing intensive physiotherapy. Midfielder De Rossi and right-back Abate were substituted with muscle injuries in Sunday’s quarter-final penalty victory over England, while Chiellini missed the game with a thigh problem. Chiellini has since returned to training and will probably come in for Leonardo Bonucci if he is fit, while Antonio Nocerino will likely replace De Rossi should he miss out. Coach Prandelli has a big decision to make if Abate fails to recover as fellow right-back Christian Maggio is suspended.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Played – 30
Germany Wins – 7
Draws – 9
Italy Wins – 14

FORM GUIDE

Germany – WWWWW
22-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Germany 4-2 Greece
17-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Denmark 1-2 Germany
13-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Netherlands 1-2 Germany
09-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Germany 1-0 Portugal
31-May-12 – Friendly – Germany 2-0 Israel

Italy – DWDDL
22-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – England 0-0 Italy
18-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Italy 2-0 Ireland
14-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Italy 1-1 Crotia
10-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Spain 1-1 Italy
01-Jun-12 – Friendly – Italy 0-3 Russia

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)
The 27-year-old Bayern Munich midfielder has been struggling with an ankle injury and looked uncharacteristically wasteful in possession against Greece in the quarter-finals. With the Italian midfield packed with skillful passers of the ball, the German star will be under pressure to cover plenty of ground and set the rhythm and tempo of the team in the middle of the park.

Mesut Ozil (Germany)
The Real Madrid playmaker has had a quiet tournament until the quarterf-inal game against Greece where he showed his true best setting up two goals. The former Werder Bremen midfielder is the main creator of chances in this German lineup. His smart passes and brilliant through balls would be the key to unlocling the solid Italian defence. If he is kept quiet then the Italian would have a real chance.

Andrea Pirlo (Italy)
The former AC Milan player has been Italy’s best player in the tournament so far and he singled handedly dominated the previous game against England. He has been an inspirational and the guiding force behind the Italian success till now. He has been dictating the game from his defensive midfield posituon and has shown his quality time and time again. Another classy performance today and his side will have a huge chance of upsetting the favourites.

Mario Balotelli (Italy)
The Manchester City forward was one of the star performers for Italy during their penalty shoot-out win over England. The former Inter Milan striker has shown he has got the talent and potential to be the best in the world but has failed to perform on a consistent basis. His pace, his ability to get in the right position at the right time and to shoot from distance, can trouble the opposition but he needs to work more on his finishing and convert the chances he gets.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Germany (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm (C); Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger; Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski; Mario Gomez.

The Germans are set to bring back their three big guns Mario Gomez, Thomas Muller and Lukas Podolski after handing them rests in the quarter-finals against Greece. Joachim Low is set to stay with his 4-2-3-1 formation that has worked like a dream till now. However, the only worry is a nagging injury to the experienced Bastian Schweinsteiger, however, the German campaign has declared that the midfielder will play through the pain and is expected to take the field against Italy today.

Italy (4-3-1-2): Gianluigi Buffon (C); Ignazio Abate, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Federico Balzaretti; Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo, Daniele De Rossi; Thiago Motta; Mario Balotelli, Antonio Cassano.

The Italians will start with the same 4-3-1-2 formation that started against England in the previous game. However they might have to make a couple of chances with Ignazio Abate and Daniele De Rossi struggling with injuries. If Abate fails to recover in time then Prandelli will have to change back to the 3-man defence with second-choice right Christian Maggio suspended. Antonio Nocerino may come in for De Rossi, if he fails to pass the fitness test. Thiago Motta will be another chance in the side and will replace Ricardo Montolivo in the lineup.

MATCH ODDS

Germany 5/6 Draw 12/5 Italy 18/5

PREDICTION

If last night’s drama was anything then this match is going to be a cracker of a game. Germany have been the team of the tournament, while Italy have been the best defensive side. The fact that Germany had 48 hours more than Italy to prepare and rest for this match is a huge advantage. The Italians were too good against an average England side, but beating the pre-tournament favourites – who have won all their matches so far – is a huge task. The history is on Italy’s side and if they are able to get past Germany today then it will surely be an upset.

Predicted Score – Germany 2-1 Italy

Germany v Greece Preview

The pre-tournament favourites Germany take on massive outsiders Greece  in the quarter-finals in Gdansk today – with the Germans looking to join Portugal in the final four, while the Greeks will be hoping for an upset.

Greece provided arguably the biggest shock of Euro 2012 so far by jumping from the foot of Group A to second with a 1-0 win over Russia in their final group game. And their unexpected title triumph at Euro 2004 is another indication of how dangerous the Greeks can be. Greece coach Fernando Santos believes the example of eight years ago is giving his squad belief as they enter the knockout stages. “I would like to seize this opportunity to say what an inspiration for us the 2004 success is,” said Santos. “We showed great resolution and strength and we were written off before that tournament, but we still reached the final and won the cup. That should be a source of inspiration for us this time.”

It may need more than inspiration if they are to beat Joachim Low’s team. Germany are the only team at Euro 2012 to win all their matches so far – even also winning all 10 qualifying games. Although Low is not taking Greece for granted, he remains convinced his team will progress to the semi-finals. “Logically we are favourites, but we can deal with that,” he said. “But remember – knockout games have their own character so it will not be the case that the favourite automatically reaches the next round. We saw that in the group when Russia were the big favourites and we have all seen what happened. But if we show all of our inner strength and belief, then we are strong enough to beat the Greeks of course. I am convinced we will win.”

TEAM NEWS

Germany

Germany welcome Jerome Boateng back after he missed the 2-1 win over Denmark due to suspension. Lars Bender should therefore return to the bench despite scoring the winner against the Danes. The rest of the team is expected to be the same, meaning the likes of Miroslav Klose, Mario Gotze and Toni Kroos must continue to wait for a start.

Greece

Fernando Santos must do without skipper Giorgos Karagounis and left-back Jose Holebas, who were both suspended in the win over Russia. Georgios Tzavelas had already usurped Holebas in the left-back slot so will continue, but the likes of Sotiris Ninis, Grigoris Makos and Giorgos Fotakis will battle for Karagounis’ midfield berth.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Played – 8
Germany Wins – 5
Draws – 3
Greece Wins – 0

FORM GUIDE

Germany – WWWWL
17-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Denmark 1-2 Germany
13-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Netherlands 1-2 Germany
09-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Germany 1-0 Portugal
31-May-12 – Friendly – Germany 2-0 Israel
26-May-12 – Friendly – Switzerland 5-3 Germany

Czech Republic – WLDWD
16-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Greece 1-0 Russia
12-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Greece 1-2 Czech Republic
08-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Poland 1-1 Greece
31-May-12 – Friendly – Greece 1-0 Armenia
26-May-12 – Friendly – Greece 1-1 Slovenia

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Mesut Ozil (Germany)
The Real Madrid star has had a relatively quiet tournament so far with just one assist to his name, but Joachim Low has backed the playmaker to “explode” in the knockout rounds just like he did in the World Cup two years ago. Indeed, a return to the form he showed in South Africa which earned him a move to Real Madrid may just be what is needed to get the zip back into Germany’s build-up play in the final third, which has at times looked a bit lifeless.

Mario Gomez (Germany)
Coming from a highly successful season with Bayern Munich and with already three goals in three group games, the German striker is the favourite to win the Golden Boot award. But with Greece boasting a record of the least number of goals conceded during qualifying, the former Stuttgart striker will have to be at his very best to score today and help his side reach the semi-finals.

Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Greece)
With Greece most likely to sit on the backfoot and defend rather than playing some free-flowing, eye-catching attacking football, their defending will have to be up to the task to give them any chance of pulling off an upset against the slick passing game of the Germans. The 20-year-old Schalke defender, Papadopoulos was reliable at the back in the group stages and his physical strength and ability to read the game will aid him well in his duel with Mario Gomez.

Geiorgios Samaras (Greece)
The Celtic striker was impressive against the Russians the other night, holding up the ball and going past the defenders with ease. Often played out on the wide, the 27-year-old put in some dangerous crosses and also tracks back to help out his defenders. Although he hasn’t scored in the tournament yet, he remains an integral part of the Greece as justified by manager Fernando Santos by handing him a start in all the games till now.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Germany (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm; Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger; Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski; Mario Gomez.

Germany have stuck with their best players all through the tournament and coach Joachim Low will not wish to mess with the winning eleven much. Bayern stopper Neuer will start in between the sticks and will be hoping to deal with the Greek attacks. The defence will see the return of Jerome Boateng  in place of Lars Bender after serving his suspension, despite the later scoring the winning goal against Denmark. Hummels, Badstuber and Lahm are expected to make up the rest of the defence. Khedira and Schweinsteiger will protect the defensive line while also assisting the attacking midfield trio of Muller, Ozil and Podolski. Star striker Mario Gomez, who is the joint topscorer in the competition with 3 goals and will get the nod again ahead of the veteran Miroslav Klose.

Greece (4-2-3-1): Michalis Sifakis; Vasilis Torosidis, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Avraam Papadopoulos, Giorgos Tzavelas; Kostas Katsouranis, Giannis Maniatis; Dimitris Salpigidis, Giorgos Fotakis, Geiogios Samaras; Theofanis Gekas.

Greece coach Fernando Santos will be without captain Giorgos Karagounis and Jose Holebas, who are both suspended, while goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias is unlikely to recover from his hamstring injury in time. Sifakis who has yet to concede a goal in his two appearances since coming on as a substitute against the Czech Republic will start in the between the sticks for the Greeks. The back four of Torosidis, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Avraam Papadopoulos and Tzavelas will guard the goal ahead of Sifakis. Katsouranis and Maniatis will play in the midfield protecting their defence as well as assisting in the attack. Ninis might get a chance over here with skipper suspended but Santos may go for the experience of Fotakis to play behind the striker Gekas and in between Samars and Salpigidis.

MATCH ODDS

Germany 3/10 Draw 21/5 Greece 10/1

PREDICTION

The Germans are known for their free-flowing attacking football, while the Greeks are known to be defensively very sound and they showed it against the Russians. It’s going to be a contest of attack versus the defence, as the Germans would look to attack from the first minute and look score an early goal, while the Greeks would look to defend and try to hit their opponents on the counter or from the set-peices. Greece have some very hardworking players who gave their best to win the match against Russia, but the Germans have talent and quality in their side alongwith some game changing individuals and that might be too much for Fernando Santos’ men to handle.

Predicted Score – Germany 2-0 Greece

Predicting Portugal v Netherlands and Denmark v Germany

Czech Republic and Greece are the first two teams to qualify for the quarter-finals after winning their respective games last night. Czech Republic broke co-hosts Poland’s heart with a 1-0 win, while Greece stunned Russia with a similar scoreline, which saw the 2004 European Champions qualify at the expense of their opponents.

Today, its time for the last round of matches in the Group of Death. Netherlands take on Portugal in one of the most important matches in this tournament so far, while Germany, who lead the group win two wins, meet Denmark in Lviv.

Date – 17th June, 21:45 GMT

Stadium – Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv

Prediction – It’s the match of the tournament with high stakes on it. Both teams Portugal and Netherlands have a chance of making it through to the next round. Netherlands need to beat Portugal by atleast a two goal margin and hope Denmark lose to Germany in the other game, while a draw for Portugal will be enough. With a win needed for the Netherlands to qualify for the last-eight, the Dutch will go with all guns blazing from the start. They will play some eye catching attacking football and will trouble the Portuguese defence a lot. Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will both start and lead the line up front for the Dutch. Portugal on the other had will look to defend and make themselves as tough as possible for the Dutch to break them down.  The Dutch will play the game on a high tempo and dominate the possession and also get an early go thanks to Huntelaar. The 2010 FIFA World Cup finalist will take the lead into the break. After the interval Dutch will continue to dominate and play most of the football in the opposition’s half. They will go for the second goal, which could send them through, and they will get it and it will Robin van Persie to score it. Portugal will go on the offence hoping to get atleast a goal back. Maarten Stekelenburg will make a couple of outstanding saves from Cristiano Ronaldo. But with just minutes left on the clock, the former Manchester United star will score and give his side the needed one goal which would take the Portuguese through to the last eight. Netherlands do win the game 2-1 but go out of the tournament.

Predicted Final Score – Portugal  1-2 Netherlands (Ronaldo ; Huntelaar, van Persie)

Date – 17th June, 21:45 GMT

Stadium – Lviv Arena, Lviv

Prediction – The Portugal v Netherlands is the important match of tournament so far, but this isn’t anything less. Denmark have a chance of making it through to the final eight, while Germany – who lead the group with two wins in two matches – can also go out. A win will take Denmark through but any other result and they are going back home. On the other, a point for Germany and they go into the quarter-finals as Group B winners and will face Greece, but if they lose and Portugal beat Netherlands in the other game, then the Germans can be knocked out of the tournament. Keeping this in mind Joachim Low will play a strong German starting XI against the Danes, who stunned the Netherlands in the first group game. Expect this game to be a bit cagey as both the sides will be well organised and tough to beat. Germans will dominate the game with their free-flowing football, while the Danes will look to hit them on the break. Mario Gomez, who has been in brilliant form all season, will give the Germans the lead in the first half. The score will stay the same at the break and after the interval Denmark will come out looking to create more chances and look to attack the German goal. But it won’t be of any success as the well organised German defence will deal with all the threats and later the 2008 UEFA EURO finalist will go on to score their second. Mesut Ozil will score a brilliant goal from the edge of the area to wrap up the game for his country. A win means Germany win the Group of Death and will face Greece in the quarter finals, while its the end of the road for Denmark but they go back home with pride of having defeated Netherlands in the first game and having come so close of making it to the final eight.

Predicted Final Score – Denmark 0-2 Germany (Gomez, Ozil)

UEFA EURO 2012 Team Preview – Germany

Population 81.7 million Area 357,021km2 Capital Berlin Currency Euro Official Language German

FOOTBALL FACTFILE

Football Asocciation Deutscher Fußball-Bund (DFB) Official Site http://www.dfb.de Year of formation 1900 Euro Ranking 4 World Ranking 3 National Stadium N/A Well-known club sides Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen Leading goalscorers Gerd Müller (68), Miroslav Klose (63), Jürgen Klinsmann & Rudi Völler (47) Most capped players Lothar Matthäus (150), Miroslav Klose (113+), Jürgen Klinsmann (108) European Championship finals attended 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 Best European Championship performance Winners 1972, 1980, 1996 Playing Record in European Championship P126 W81 D29 L16 Odds of winning UEFA EURO 2012 3/1

JOURNEY TO POLAND/UKRAINE

In a display of ruthless efficiency that has become synonymous with the German football team, the three-time European Champions glided through their qualification period, wining all 10 games with relative ease. Turkey and Belgium were identified as potential pitfalls, but Germany cruised past them in style, scoring 34 goals and conceding only seven.

A formidable outfit in their last World Cup outing, bested only by eventual winners Spain in the semi-finals, Joachim Löw has now amassed an even stronger side. Question marks over defensive pairing have been answered and, from an attacking perspective, veteran Miroslav Klose looks as potent as ever, offering a stunning return of nine goals in six qualifying games he played. A fersome midfield comprises talents such as Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Özi, not to mention youngsters Toni Kroos and the prodigious Mario Götze, whom Löw is undoubtedly eager to unleash.

Although in a very difficult group alongside the Netherlands, Denmark and Portugal, the opposition will be of little consequence to a German side that boasts an incomparable history in the competition. It was 1996 when they last emerged victorious in the European Championship and 16 years without a trophy is , by German reckoning, for too long. Along with Spain they’ll be many bookies’ tip to take silverware home this summer.

HOW THEY GOT THERE

03/09/2010 – Group A – Belgium 0-1 Germany
07/09/2010 – Group A – Germany 6-1 Azerbaijan
08/10/2010 – Group A – Germany 3-0 Turkey
12/10/2010 – Group A – Kazakhstan 0-3 Germany
26/03/2011 – Group A – Germany 4-0 Kazakhstan
03/06/2011 – Group A – Austria 1-2 Germany
07/06/2011 – Group A – Azebaijan 1-3 Germany
02/09/2011 – Group A – Germany 6-2 Austria
07/10/2011 – Group A – Turkey 1-3 Germany
11/10/2011 – Group A – Germany 3-1 Belgium

HOME AND AWAY KITS

 

GROUP FIXTURES – GROUP B

Saturday, 09/06 – Germany v Portugal (Lviv, 19:45)
Wednesday, 13/06 – Netherlands v Germany (Kharkiv, 19:45)
Sunday, 17/06 – Denmark v Germany (Lviv, 19:45)

FINAL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München), Tim Wiese (SV Werder Bremen), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96).

Defenders: Holger Badstuber (FC Bayern München), Jérôme Boateng (FC Bayern München), Benedikt Höwedes (FC Schalke 04), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal FC).

Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Toni Kroos (FC Bayern München), Thomas Müller (FC Bayern München), Mesut Özil (Real Madrid CF), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid CF), Marco Reus (VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach), André Schürrle (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (FC Bayern München), Mario Götze (Borussia Dortmund), İlkay Gündoğan (Borussia Dortmund).

Forwards: Miroslav Klose (S.S. Lazio), Mario Gomez (FC Bayern München), Lukas Podolski (1. FC Köln).

THE CAPTAIN – PHILIPP LAHM

Don’t be fooled by this German’s youthful visage, beneath Lahm’s baby-faced exterior lies true grit and priceless experience. Considered one of the best defenders in the world, the Bayern full-back has represented Germany in four international tournaments to date, winning a runners-up medal in his last European outing. This year he will be hoping to go one better.

THE KEEPER – MANUEL NEUER

Establishing himself as uncontested first choice in the German goal, Neuer played every second of his country’s 10 UEFA EURO 2012 qualification games, gaining wide critical acclaim in the process. Still living in the shadows of long-serving goalkeeping great, Oliver Kahn, Poland/Ukraine is the perfect oppotunity for Neuer to etch his name into German history books.

STAR MAN – MESUT OZIL

Grabbing the world’s attention with a Golden Ball nomination in South Africa 2010, Mesut Özil is heralded as one of the up-and-coming prodigies on the global footballing stage. Described by his peers as ‘the German Messi’, Özil technical brilliance and fantastic range of passing has seen him collate a remarkable number of season assists for a hugely grateful Real Madrid forward line. He is fleet of foot and of mind, creating opportunities with ruthless passing and remarkable frequency. When he gets the ball in space in UEFA EURO 2012, opposition fans’ hearts will begin to flutter.

THE MANAGER – JOACHIN LOW

Catching the football world’s attention as Jürgen Klinsmann suavely dressed assistant at 2006 FIFA World Cup, in 2010 Joachim Löw oversaw a tournament in which Germany displayed a very watchable brand of exciting, attacking football. It propelled them to the semi-finals and, although they lose to Spain, Löw has perseved with the same style of play since stepping into the hotset. He has dripped veterans such as Michael Ballack and, to his credit, progressed youngsters such as Toni Kroos and Mario Götze.

TOURNAMENT PREDICTION

Winners – The Germans have one of the most balanced sides among all the teams taking part in the European Championship this year. They are drawn in the Group of Death alongside Netherlands, Denmark and Portugal, but with quality they possess they should go on to win the group. If they do so then a potential semi-final clash against Spain is in the waiting, and that would be the match of the tournament.

The Germans have been knocked out of the major tournaments by La Furia Roja on the previous two occasions (finals in UEFA EURO 2008 and semi-finals in 2010 FIFA World Cup), but expect Die Mannschaft to be third-time lucky and get the better of the reigning European and World champions.