Saturday, 14 June 2014

Written by Timothy Hock-An Balaguru, Class of 2014, Junior 2 Cempaka

I can draw parallels between Germany under Joachim Loew and pre-2008 Spain. A squad with a lot of depth? Check. A squad with game-changers in each and every position? Check. An ardent fan following all over the world? Check. Major titles? Zero. 

This is very hard to understand. Their team-sheet has always been filled with a mixture of some of the finest young players on the globe, as well as established veterans who have shown the ability to perform at the very highest levels of competition. They quite clearly have the ability to win the World Cup, but they haven’t done it since 1990. To their credit, they have been consistently amongst the top teams in the competition throughout the years. They finished second in 2002, and third in 2006 and 2010. For most teams, performances like these are simply out of reach. For a football powerhouse like Germany, though, only wins count. 

This year, the German outfit is in my opinion, the strongest squad Loew has ever had. You could put the names of all 23 members of the squad in a hat and take them out one by one. Chances are, you’ll draw the name of a great player almost every time. The problem for Germany is, this might be the last opportunity for their Golden Generation to win a World Cup. Of course, there will be new players who will develop and take the places of their elder statesmen, but we do not know how the team will fare with the nucleus of the team gone. It will be a great shame if the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Philipp Lahm and Miroslav Klose end their international careers without any major world titles to their name. With there being a realistic possibility that this might be the last World Cup for all three of them, the time to win one is now. 

As I said earlier, this squad is very strong in all departments. Nonetheless, there are still a few players who stand out for their sheer brilliance. One of them is Marco Reus. At 25 years of age, Reus is arguably entering what should be the best phase of his career. He is blessed with a remarkable turn of pace, as well as a box of tricks that would not be out of place in the locker of a magician. He also has the ability to clinically put away his chances, which is something that he has done time and time again for Borussia Dortmund. With so many world-class central players in the German squad, Reus’ pace will add another dimension to their game. He can stretch opponents’ defences, ensuring that opposition fullbacks will have to stay further back and remain unable to support their attacking colleagues in the final third of the pitch. His explosive pyrotechnics will also be deadly on the counterattack, especially in partnership with the great passers in the team, such as Mesut Ozil and Andre Schurrle, who themselves are capable of brilliance. 

Another key asset to this German masterclass is acclaimed Bayern Munich shot-stopper Manuel Neuer, widely known as the best goalkeeper in world football. Neuers showcase of trophies since his breakthrough in the Munich club is breathtaking, and the tall German international proves his class each and every time he steps in between the posts, proving to be the key difference maker between a win and a loss. Look out for Neuer to pull out some of his incredible saves and astounding distributions to pillar the brick wall that is the German back-line.

This year’s World Cup will represent Germany’s best chance of success at a major international tournament. They have the players to do it, they have a tactically astute manager and they have a united squad not separated by individualism. With everything in place, all that is left for them to do is go out there and bring home the ultimate prize in football. 

Key Players: Marco Reus, Manuel Neuer

Previews of the teams from Brazil, Spain, Germany, England, Argentina, France, Belgium and the Netherlands will be published on the Lumen Studet. Next: England.
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