Wonderful new “Football Germany”

The German national team made history on the road to hopefully achieving their great aim of winning their fourth European title in Kiev on July 1, 2012. The spectacularly successful team under national coach Joachim Loew set a qualifying record with 10 victories in 10 matches, with their last two games bringing a 3-1 (2-0) win over Belgium four days after a similar 3-1 (1-0) success in Turkey. A fantastic success story that began on September 3, 2010, came full circle with goals by Mesut Oezil (30th), Andre Schuerrle (33rd) and Mario Gomez (48th) in front of 48,483 spectators in Dusseldorf.

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Bastian Schweinsteiger (left) and Manuel Neuer embrace each other after the German 3-1 win against Turkey. Both players performed brilliantly in Istanbul. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


The 1-0 win in Brussels in the opening match of the European Championship qualification was followed by eight further victories against Turkey (3-0/3-1), Kazakhstan (3-0/4-0), Azerbaijan (6-1/3-1) and Austria (2-1/6-2). After playing in Cologne, Berlin, Astana, Kaiserslautern, Vienna, Baku, Gelsenkirchen and Istanbul the German Football Association, DFB, selection made it 10 out of 10 against the “Red Devils” from their neighbouring country in Dusseldorf on October 11.

“They were great performances over 14 months. We wanted to successfully conclude the finishing straight of a long marathon. This is an honourable record”, said Loew in praising his team’s winning series. Only the eventual German 1982 World Cup silver medallists achieved a similar feat when they won all their qualifiers for the World Cup finals in Spain -- just eight victories in a smaller group, however. Prior to the 1962 World Cup finals (four wins) and the 1938 final tournament (three wins) the German teams also remained undefeated.

“We are ready and are looking forward to the European Championship“, Thomas Mueller said. “Our goal must be to win the title for Germany. The time has come for Germany to again achieve the European Championship”, said Mesut Oezil, who is currently enjoying the highest international recognition among Germany’s football professionals due to his performances with Real Madrid. “If we continue like that we can win the title”, the 22-year-old midfielder stated.

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Mesut Oezil’s goal for the German team against Belgium. The perfect left shot dips below the bar for the 1-0 lead. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


The German team, which has lost just one friendly since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, against Australia at Moenchengladbach with a B team last March, concluded the qualification for the EURO finals with a fantastic goal tally of 34-7. No other European team achieved an advantage of 13 points as the Germans did in Group A. Thus the Germans are in qualification terms European champions.

With a 1-0 win over Azerbaijan, Turkey finished second in the group and made the play-off matches in November. Oezil and Ilkay Guendogan, who made his debut for the DFB team as a substitute in Dusseldorf, were particularly pleased that the Turks still retain a chance to qualify for the European Championship finals despite the bitter home defeat to Germany. Both players have Turkish roots. Due to their defeat Belgium, for whom Marouane Fellaini scored a late goal (86th) in Dusseldorf, dropped to third place. “Germany is a machine that plays very intelligently. The great Germany must be one of the title favourites at the European Championship, together with Spain and the Netherlands”, said Belgian head coach Georges Leekens.

FC Bayern Germany: The team is the star

But before the German team finally completed this maximum of victories, they had to battle with great problems. The Belgian guests started the encounter with passion and fighting spirit, pushing the Loew team into defence. Loew had made five changes from the 3-1 win in Turkey, where Gomez, Mueller and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was injured before the match against Belgium, scored the goals. Oezil couldn’t play in Istanbul due to problems with his Achilles tendon and was replaced by the brilliantly performing 19-year-old Mario Goetze.

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Mesut Oezil cannot be checked by Everton FC’s Marouane Fellaini. Oezil scored a goal during the German national team’s 3-1 victory over Belgium. (Photo: GES/Augenklick)


Loew’s aim that the team would not lose their drive and rhythm before the European Championship kick-off on June 8 was fulfilled. They met Loew’s demands in the attack so brilliantly that the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” headlined: “Wonderful New Germany”. The DFB team will play their first friendly matches prior to the European Championship against European co-hosts Ukraine in Kiev on November 11 and against the Netherlands in Hamburg on November 15.

The German national team can be increasingly referred to as FC Bayern Germany. The record-winning champions, the power-machine of German football, constantly gain influence within the DFB team. Seven Munich players were in the starting line-up in Turkey; Bayern professionals scored all three goals. “We are confident and invigorated, we are a unit“, disclosed Per Mertesacker of Arsenal FC. But there is still room for improvement in defence. The national team conceded at least one goal in each of their last nine games. Loew said that’s the price you have to pay for the extremely offensive style. “The team is invigorated and united so the players now perform their matches with superiority and control”, Gomez explained. Every player emphasised that unity was the most important thing. This has started to remind them of the time when a DFB team won their last international title at the 1996 European Championship, and Berti Vogts created the slogan: “The team is the star”. Mertesacker expressed it most clearly: “The team is above everything else”.