Germany Camp Focus – The Low-down on Germany

Joachim Low faces a challenge in getting his side to the latter stages of the competition as injuries to key players and retirements have left him short of experience. Michael Ballack’s injury couldn’t have occurred at a worse time for the Germans – they will be without their inspirational captain, whose ability and experience is something they were banking on getting them through the opening rounds.

In goal Die Mannschaft face another crisis with the loss of No.1 Rene Adler to injury. Low must now pick between Tim Weise, Manuel Neuer and Hans-Jorg Butt. Butt is the most experienced of all the keepers and has played an integral part in Bayern Munich reaching the Champions League final, although he only has three international caps. Neuer and Wiese are solid keepers who have been in good form but expect the Munich keeper to get the nod after a great season for Munich. The German back four should pick itself with Phillip Lahm and Marcell Jansen filling the full-back positions. Both have a great deal of experience at international level and will provide the team with options going forward as well as being solid defensively. Much will be made of Lahm’s contributions as he is one of the players who must step up to the plate in Ballack’s absence. In the centre will be Per Mertesacker and Arne Freidrich who will provide much experience and a solid centre. The centre-backs will be a match for most of the forwards in the air but may be susceptible against pace, so that is something Low might have to be aware of. If the centre-backs struggle, other options he has at his disposal include Man City target Jerome Boateng, Heiko Westermann and Serdar Tasci.

In midfield Bastian Schweinsteiger must step up in Michael Ballack’s absence and be the dominant force in the middle of the park. He is the most experienced player in midfield and will have to be the link so that Die Mannschaft can bring their impressive array of strikers into the game. Playing alongside Schweinsteiger will be Piotr Trochowski who has shown for Hamburg this season his quality and he can also provide goals from midfield. Mesut

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