It’s rare that Germany head into any tournament without being listed among the bookies’ favourites to win the whole thing, but thanks to their World Cup win two years ago, it’s easy to see why people think a spell of Teutonic dominance is on the cards on the international stage. There was no team at the World Cup who came close to Joachim Löw’s men but, thanks to the international retirements of key players like Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose and Per Mertesacker, as well as injury to Marco Reus, winning the big prize in France won’t be easy.
Germany’s squad has changed a reasonable amount since the World Cup, with the likes of Köln’s Jonas Hector and Roma’s Antonio Rüdiger becoming unshakeable members of the squad, and they also enter the tournament in poor form; defeats to England and Slovakia this year followed a dodgy end to 2015 with defeats to the United States, Ireland and France. With most of those defeats coming in friendlies, German fans can still afford to be somewhat hopeful, but they’ll need their big players to step up to the plate in France this summer.
Over the next few pages, we have picked out three men who will have to impress to help Germany towards their goal of the title. Let us know your thoughts on the choices in the comments section below, especially if there is a key performer for the German team who you think deserves a mention.[separator type=”thin”]
Manuel Neuer – Bayern Munich
It’s been an accepted fact for the best part of five years that Manuel Neuer is the world’s best goalkeeper and at the World Cup in 2014, he proved his worth with a memorable performance against Algeria in the second round, a game which featured an otherwise poor performance from other members of his team.
While backed up by a strong duo in the guise of Marc-André ter Stegen and Bernd Leno, Neuer is the only goalkeeper in the Germany squad who possesses experience of an international tournament and is one of the senior figures in the dressing room, meaning his presence in the German squad is important even off the field.
First and foremost, though, it’s important for Löw to have Neuer on the field; his shot-stopping skills are unparalleled, he commands his area excellently and is, obviously, one of the pre-eminent sweeper keepers playing the game currently.