The depth in Jogi Löw’s depth squad is truly outstanding, which in any major tournament is imperative and could be the key to winning Germany’s first international trophy in nearly two decades.
Croatia, Spain, England, Greece and France have all had injury problems in the lead up to Euro 2012, or in their opening game. While it is inevitable that any side could suffer injuries and/or suspensions, Lӧw doesn’t have to worry. The 52-year-old has the likes of Mario Gӧtze, Marco Reus, Andre Schürrle, Toni Kroos, Ìkay Gündoğan and legend Miroslav Klose, all sitting on the bench.
In Germany’s opening game Lukas Podolski wasted numerous chances as his finishing was dismal. Meanwhile, Schürrle, Gӧtze and Reus are all capable and ready to fill in that left position if needed. Löw has been apprehensive in dropping Podolski but if he continues to disappoint he has several players breathing down his neck.
All things considered, Schürrle had a good debut season for Bayer Leverkusen and probably will be the first option off the bench. Even more impressive have been his cameos for the National Team scoring 7 goals in 14 games, a goals to minutes ratio few players in the world can boast at the international level. Dortmund starlet, Gӧtze, meanwhile missed the second half of the season with a hip injury, but his talent is undisputed as the “German Messi” has shown numerous times. Despite the lack of match fitness then, Gӧtze could still brighten up any side with his touch, pace and ability to unlock a defense with a touch or pass.
Reus may be a national team newbie, making his debut only in October but no other player came off a better season in the Bundesliga than the young attacker. Reus lit up the league, scoring 21 goals in 37 games, and his ability to play across the frontline and goal threat make him perhaps an even better option. His versatility could in fact be a decisive factor down the line should Löw opt to use it. Whereas Gomez and even Klose provide a more direct traditional approach, Reus’ ability to comfortably play off the striker, on either wing or up front adds a valuable element of surprise and unpredictability that many backlines could struggle against.
With Bastian Schweinsteiger still regaining match fitness, Kroos could also play a big part. The Bayern Munich midfielder has most recently been used in a deeper role in midfield alongside Sami Khedira, and is the first off the bench should either first choice players be absent. The 22-year-old possesses great touch, passing, work ethic, as well as the ability to find the net from distance. An additional option is to have all three on the pitch as Germany did towards the end of the Netherlands match, an option that would improve Germany’s retention game and help against stronger passing sides.
Gündoğan is another option that will be nipping at the heels of his teammates. The 21-year-old impressed in the second-half of Borussia Dortmund’s impressive season. The former Nuremberg midfielder has done exceptionally well after a slow start in a deep playmaking role. With only two caps to his name, Gündoğan is the most inexperienced outfield player in the German squad but his ability to read the game and link play could be invaluable in the worst case scenario.
Last not but not least is Miroslav Klose. The 34 year old is the most capped player in the squad and only second to the great Gerd Müller in goals for the National Team While Mario Gomez is the man of the hour Klose could have the largest role to play of all. His pedigree of goals at the international level is second to none nowadays and his experience could prove crucial as the tournament winds down. He has a knack of scoring in big tournaments and is the only player to have scored at least four goals in three World Cups. Klose’s clever movement and understanding with players like Özil and Müller could be the key to unlocking stubborn defenses late in games.
Lӧw has the security of arguably the deepest squad in the tournament, a luxury most other managers don’t. And with a plethora of options at his disposal Löw has all the tools necessary to bring the trophy home should he use them effectively.
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