After a woeful 2018 World Cup, Joachim Low will be determined to end his tenure with the national side on a high note before he moves on after nearly 15 years in charge. They are currently 7/1 to win Euro 2020.
Die Mannschaft left Russia, with their tails between their legs, at the group stage with just a single win to their name — a stark contrast from previous tournaments in which they had won the World Cup two years previous and been semi-finalists in all of the last seven major tournaments.
In the three years since, Low has overseen a minor overhaul of the side, opting to give more responsibility to the likes of Kai Havertz and Serge Gnabry. He has, however, reverted back to old ways somewhat, giving call ups to both Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels, hoping for some added major tournament experience.
In the 4th part of our Euro 2020 preview series, we’ll take a look at Germany’s form, likely lineup and playing style, and key players before pulling the odds and giving the verdict on Low’s side.
Euro 2020 qualifying: WWWLWWWW
As with the vast majority of major national sides, the qualifying process went through without as much as a hiccup. seven wins from their eight games, with the single defeat coming at the hands of the Netherlands, 4–2. They managed 30 goals (3.75 per game) and conceded only seven (0.88 per game).
In more general terms, however, it hasn’t exactly been plain sailing. Germany’s most recent fixture, during World Cup qualifying, was an embarrassing 2–1 defeat to the lowly North Macedonia, with 21-year old Napoli midfielder, Eljif Elmas, grabbing an astonishing 85th minute winner in Germany.
Low’s side have also struggled recently against Romania, winning 1–0, and getting hammered by an electric Spain side, 6–0, in the Nations League, with Manchester City’s Ferran Torres bagging a hat-trick.
Low’s Germany looks to be one of the harder sides to predict this summer, mainly due to his regression from the transition to a younger squad with the inclusion of the likes of Muller and Hummels.
He is likely to set up in some variation of a 4–3–3 formation (this example includes a false-nine option) however, and is likely to try to blend experience with youth across the pitch.
One of Germany’s most competitive areas is at full-back, with Lukas Klostermann, Marcel Halstenberg, Philipp Max, Mathias Ginter and Robin Goesens all battling for two places. Low is likely to go with the RB Leipzig duo of Halstenberg and Klostermann flanking an experienced central duo of Antonio Rudiger and Mats Hummels.
A midfield of Toni Kroos, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka provides the perfect German blend of class, industry and efficiency. This is a midfield that is up there with the best club midfields in the world, and easily capable of masterminding a tournament winning summer.
Again, trying to find a balance within the front three, Low may go for the recalled Raumdeuter Thomas Muller in a false nine role, dropping in to link midfield to attack and pulling apart defences for the devastatingly quick wide duo of Timo Werner (if he can stay onside) and Serge Gnabry to provide penetrative runs.
Germany’s strength is in their depth. As well as the above names, Low will be able to call upon the likes of Niklas Sule, Ilkay Gundogan, Leroy Sane, Kai Havertz, Florian Nehaus and 18-year old Bayern wunderkind, Jamal Musiala.
Serge Gnabry: Those who don’t delve too far away from Premier League viewing may not have such fond memories of Serge Gnabry’s spell at Arsenal, however since his move from the Gunners to Werder Bremen, and then to Bayern Munich, the German winger has quickly turned into one of the most terrifying forwards in the Bundesliga.
In a fairly injury hit season, the 25-year old bagged 10 goals and two assists in 20 starts during Die Bayern’s title winning campaign, becoming one of Bayern’s first choice wingers, ahead of compatriot Leroy Sane, when all are fit.
The raw, electrifying pace which was present at Arsenal and at West Brom has now been beautifully built on with an improved positional intelligence, an elegant dribbling ability and a killer attacking instinct. Furthermore, Gnabry’s fluidity across the front-line will be crucial in breaking down the more stubborn of defences, particularly the likes of France and Portugal in the group stages.
Joshua Kimmich: When Philipp Lahm announced his retirement from international football in July 2014, just five days after leading his side the the 2014 World Cup, many worried that the likes of him would never come again. A year later Bayern Munich bought Joshua Kimmich from RB Leipzig, to replace Lahm, and no one has worried since.
After earning his stripes at full-back, Kimmich has again followed his predecessor into central-midfield, becoming arguably the best number-six in the world. The 26-year old is in the 99th percentile across all midfielders in Europe’s major leagues for assists per 90 (0.50), key passes per 90 (2.89), progressive passes per 90 (8.75), shot creating actions per 90 (4.84) and ball carrying distance per 90 (414.28 yards), proving the be the ultimate all round midfielder.
More important than all that, however, is the midfielders mentality, almost perfectly encapsulating — similarly to the likes of Lahm, Lothar Matthaus and Neuer — everything that makes the Germans serial winners. Uber-focused, relentlessly determined and always possessing the highest expectations of self and side, Kimmich is the ultimate professional. If Germany are to win the Euros, Kimmich will be at the heart of all that is good.
Following on from the embarrassment of the 2018 World Cup, Die Mannschaft come in at 7/1 to win Euro 2020. They are 4th in line again at 7/2 to reach the final, yet favourites to win their group ahead of France and Portugal at 5/4.
Germany are without a clear, out-and-out goalscorer, and this is reflected in Golden Boot odds, with Timo Werner at 25/1, Serge Gnabry at 33/1 and Kai Havertz and Thomas Muller at 40/1.
Low’s side are 9/5 to win a massive first game against France.
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