UEFA Euro 2012 betting preview – part 5b – Germany
In the last Euro 2012 betting preview article we covered the German greats and history as well as the Euro 2012 odds available to bet in relation to the German team. This article will focus on the defensive part of the German team. Our aim is to get you well familiarized with the players so that you can enjoy your Euro 2012 betting comfortably and be more in the know about the squad at the disposal of the Head Coach, Joachim Löw. Here goes!
The goalkeeper position
Manuel Neuer has a solid grasp on the keeper position. Playing all the qualification matches and being the Number One choice in goal for Bayern Munchen shows the abilities of this man. Many also remember him for his excellent play in the 2010 World Cup. Expect him to shine in this competition. If Neuer for some reason can’t play the team will be weakened for sure. Ron-Robert Zieler, a young keeper, who went through the grades in the Manchester United youth system before transferring to Hannover, has been tested by head coach Löw, and he seems like a capable prospect. René Adler of Bayer Leverkusen, who lost his percieved number one spot to Neuer when he couldn’t travel to South Africa in 2010, may be in contention for a spot. Tim Wiese from Kaiserslautern who is over 30 years old might be called upon as well to bring some needed experience to the side.
Per Mertesacker is probably still the biggest name. This tall, physically strong and effective central defender plays his football in the English Premier League for Arsenal. He is perhaps not the fastest defender in town, but if paired with a faster more dynamic player he will be able to organize things to an A+ level. He is also a pretty good passer of the ball, so he can turn defense into attack with well-timed passes. The main worry for this guy is his injury problems. He has been out since February, and has been ruled out for the season. It is not likely he will be match fit. The man people will turn to then is Holger Badstuber. Badstuber is probably one of the first names coach Jupp Heynckes of Bayern Munich writes down when putting his team sheet together. He might be only 23 years of age, but it certainly hasn’t showed in his big stage matches so far. He is an all-round, versatile modern player capable of occupying most defensive team slots. He is also relatively tall and athletic, so he can add a physical presence to the game need be. Löw has used him both on left back and in the centre of defense. He can also play a bit higher up on the pitch and patrol the defensive end of things in midfield. We believe that he will be more or less a certain starter in the middle should Mertesacker not be able to join the squad.
Benedikt Höwedes is another solid central defender we expect to see a lot of this Euro 2012. He can also occupy the right back spot should there be any need for that. He currently plays for high-flying Schalke. Höwedes is perhaps not a 100% stereotype central defender, but his strengths are tackling, heading, and using his physique to his advantage no doubt. He is still young, only 24 years old, and we guess it won’t be long before the English Premier League clubs as well as the top Spanish clubs starts circling in on him. As Mertesacker is a big doubt, he should get plenty of game time.
Another player that will get game time is Dortmund’s Mats Hummels. He is only 23, but again we are dealing with an exceptional talent and a more modern version of the old stereotype central defender. Yes, he is tall and has a physical approach to the game. That said, he has vision and he is relatively fast. As a member of the successful Dortmund squad and with some solid performances under his belt in the qualification games, he can absolutely not be written off in any way. Although he seems mentally strong, he can have a few blips in a game and this could lead to dangerous situations, in a big game scenario such as the Euro 2012 those situations will have to be left at home. Löw is a capable man-manager so we are sure this will also be the case.
At age 32, versatile Arne Friedrich would add much needed experience to the side. After all, so far he has lined up 82 appearances for the German A side. After a rough patch, this guy is back in action across the Atlantic for Chicago Fire in the MLS. Friedrich can play on the right and in the center as well as in defensive positions up in midfield. His versatility and experience makes him an interesting wild card for a slot in the squad. If he does get the nod we do expect him to only get game time if he comes on as a substitute.
Jérôme Agyenim Boateng is a versatile player who can occupy any of the spots in defense. Club managers prefers using him to the right either as a central defender or as a right full back. For Germany, he might also be used on the left. He currently plays for Bayern Munchen. He got a chance to try his luck in Manchester City, but was frustrated in England. As Mancini built his star squad Boateng became more of a fringes player. That said; after transferring to Munich he has once again shown his worth. With his physical abilities and height he is tough to beat in duels. Combine that with adequate speed, delivery, and overall footballing abilities, and it is not hard to understand why Löw is giving his a lot of game time (although mainly coming off the bench).
Philipp Lahm is the Captain of this side, and with his 28 years of age he will be one of the most experienced players in this group. He prefers playing at right back, but can occupy the left slot with ease. He is a modern day full back for sure. He can defend; he can get forward and deliver excellent crosses. He pretty much can do it all. We would perhaps expect such a world beater to have a higher scoring percentage, but in a Bayern Munchen and German side with abundance of attacking options we suspect he is forgiven.
Dennis Aogo is an interesting player coming from HSV. Versatility is again a solid keyword. Aogo can play left fullback or higher up on the pitch. He can also take on a defensive midfield position. He has decent speed, he can tackle, and he is a good passer of the ball. His aerial game might need a little work, but overall he is highly capable of coming off the bench for one of the more established guys mentioned before him. Marcel Schmelzer, the 24 year old left back of Dortmund, might also be a rabbit jumping out of the hat come Euro 2012 kick off. Having had an excellent year in the Bundesliga, and being on the fringes of the German squad, he might get the nod. He has good darting runs forward and plays solidly in the back using a no bullshit approach to the game. His vision and positioning are definitely strong points too. He seems very influential to the Dortmund team, and this alone should merit a chance in this squad. Christian Träsch is another top full back type also capable of defensive midfield or central midfield work, or some high paced action up on the attacking half of the pitch. He currently plays for Wolfsburg. His versatility and general footballing abilities make him a very impressive player. Unfortunately he has found it hard to express himself in an underperforming Wolfsburg side this season.
The obvious name to single out is Sami Khedira who plays for Real Madrid. Having a fantastic 2010 World Cup, he went to the Spanish capitol, but has found life there to be a roller coaster ride. He has been a bit in-and-out of the starting 11 of Star coach Mourinho, but he should feature as a holding midfielder. Obviously his vision, shot and passing abilities, as well as positioning and tackling, make him a very tough cookie for the opponents. A real world star!
Bastian Schweinsteiger is another big name player who plays for Bayern Munchen. He has gone from a more attacking role on the left side of midfield to a defensive midfield role. He played several of the qualification matches in this position, and even if he isn’t a regular starter for Bayern, with their fantastic squad being the reason, he should be included here. His shot and set pieces alone are good reasons to bring him alone. Add to that great balance, positioning and dribbling skills, as well as a winning mentality, and you got a world beater.
Young Lars Bender (22) of Bayer Leverkusen can also occupy this spot. Having had a wonderful season with Leverkusen, this very solid footballer must be considered very closely by the German setup. Bender is perhaps a bigger name than Schweinsteiger, but he possesses a big football brain and a ton of skills. Again, we deal with versatility. Bender can play in advanced attacking positions or go down deep. He has ball-winning skills that are quite unique and he has a motor that apparently never runs out of gas. Like his twin brother Sven playing for Dortmund, he puts in an effort for the team for the full 90 minutes every single time he is on the pitch.
We could have mentioned more players, but there isn’t time. The ones mentioned here is in our opinion the cream of the current crop.
Germany has it all. The versatility of these defensive players makes them a tough team to score against no matter who is playing. They have depth also, and even if their preferred defensive lineup isn’t available they can call upon excellent replacements. Should Lahm be out, and Friedrich not selected, the team will have very young players on the pitch. For such a big occasion that might be a problem, but then again; the players play at a high level week in and week out as well as testing their feet in European Cups. We could perhaps also wish for a tad more technical abilities in central areas of the defense, but only if we are forced to be really picky. We expect nothing but brilliance from these players in the Euro2012.