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Group D: Germany Qualified as winner of Group 5
Lack of style and flair no reason to write off Germany
 

Germany did not qualify for Euro 2004 in style and their performances since have done little to reassure their fans -- but their pedigree and competitive spirit means they cannot be written off for a moment.

Rising to the occasion has always been a German specialty and a reputation for being battlers, rather than artists, has never stopped the traditional heavyweights from collecting plenty of silverware over the years.

Struggling against so-called minnows and leaving it late to book their place in a major tournament is typically German and does not mean they will prove a damp squib on the pitches of Portugal next month.

More worrying, perhaps, was the way they were outplayed by holders France, who crushed the Germans 3-0 in a friendly last November in Gelsenkirchen with a superb attacking display.

The defeat was a blow to morale but the triple world and European champions can step up a gear when they need to.

They did just that at the 2002 World Cup and at times in the Euro qualifiers, battling for a 2-1 win over Scotland before finishing off with a 3-0 victory over Iceland, who led the group at one stage.

A February outing which ended in a 2-1 friendly win over Croatia in February in Split, was nothing special but was welcomed by coach Rudi Voeller as a good way to start a crucial year.

Their 3-0 win over Belgium in another friendly in Cologne in March and a 5-1 defeat of Romania in Bucharest last month also underlined their strength. Any opponent under-estimates Germany at their own peril.

However, Germany will have to raise their game again to avoid another embarrassment after making a shock first-stage exit from Euro 2000 but they can turn to recent history for inspiration, having reached the 2002 World Cup final after needing a playoff to qualify.

"The experience of coming from behind in the group is extremely important for my young players and it will help them take their game to the next level," said Voeller, who restored Germany's pride after taking over in the wake of the Euro 2000 flop.

The normally unflappable Voeller lost his cool once in the campaign, after a dismal 0-0 draw with Iceland in September left his team in danger of not making it to Portugal.

The former Germany striker lashed out at his media critics in a expletive-filled outburst, calling their analysis of Germany's weaknesses "a load of crap."

Voeller then had to hear fellow former German international Felix Magath, now the VfB Stuttgart coach, suggest it might be better if Germany did not qualify because that might make them realise that drastic changes were needed.

Magath's remarks irritated Voeller, who has introduced changes, promoting a handful of talented young players, notably defender Andreas Hinkel and striker Kevin Kuranyi, both from VfB Stuttgart.

Voeller, who helped Germany to lift the World Cup in 1990 as a striker and knows an exciting forward when he sees one, also expects plenty from TSV 1860's Benjamin Lauth, whom he described as the German striker with the greatest potential.

The defence, traditionally one of Germany's strongest assets, has looked shaky lately but young blood is available there too, not only in Hinkel but also in his Stuttgart team mate Philipp Lahm, who made a promising debut against Croatia.

Voeller can also rely on several experienced players and an inspirational playmaker in Michael Ballack, who showed once again in the qualifying campaign how vital he is to the team.

Ballack alone is no guarantee of scintillating midfield play and Voeller could use a few more creative players.

He does have enough goalkeepers, although relations between Bayern Munich's Oliver Khan and Arsenal's Jens Lehmann are strained.

Lehmann, the frustrated reserve, caused an uproar in February by saying he felt he was better than Kahn and should be first choice.

Voeller reacted by backing Kahn, his captain and a great motivator, while Lehmann has done himself few favours with a number of well-publicised errors for Arsenal this season.

Germany have never been a side to thrill the crowds but they remain intimidating opponents with a history to live up to. The 2006 World Cup on home soil will also serve as a great incentive to perform well.

World Cup-winning captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer, now the president of the organising committee for the 2006 finals, said the team he once graced could shine in Portugal.

"We must continue the hard work but we can win if we get everything right," he said.
- Patrick Vignal

 « Star Player »

Name Michael Ballack
Position Midfielder
Club Bayern
DOB 26.09.1976

Ballack looking for glory without personal sacrifice

Michael Ballack's importance as playmaker in the German side was evident in his performances that helped to clinch a spot in the Euro 2004 finals.
Despite being hampered by fitness problems, Ballack played a a vital role in the 2-1 victory over Scotland and the 3-0 defeat of Iceland that sent Germany through after a qualifying campaign that proved tougher than expected...   [more]

 

 « Star Player »

Name Kevin Kuranyi
Position Forward
Club Stuttgart
DOB 02.03.1982

Kuranyi brings Latin flair to German attack

Kevin Kuranyi's emergence as a German international has added spice to a side not often associated with exotic flair.
Kuranyi, who holds not only a German passport but also Brazilian and Panamanian ones, made his big breakthrough last season when his goals helped Stuttgart to a surprise second place in the Bundesliga...   [more]

 

 « The Coach »
Völler retains popular support despite TV outburst
Germany coach Rudi Voeller's expletive-filled outburst at his media critics during his team's far from impressive run to the Euro 2004 finals has failed to dampen his popularity.
A favourite with the fans since his playing days, the former international striker stunned the soccer-mad nation last September after Germany undermined their chances of qualifying with a dismal 0-0 draw with Iceland.
The usually mild-mannered Voeller ranted and raved live on national television, dismissing the media's analysis of a poor performance as "a load of crap."
His outburst soon became the country's number one topic of discussion.
"It was virtually impossible to turn on the television without seeing me on it," Voeller said. "It was a very strange feeling."
German football's biggest names, starting with Franz Beckenbauer, expressed support while opinion polls showed the fans still loved Voeller.
Considered cheerful and unflappable, the 43-year-old Voeller proved by being rude that he was only human.
Fans like him not only because he always gave his best for Germany, scoring 47 goals in 90 internationals and lifting the World Cup in 1990, but also because they can easily identify with him.
While Beckenbauer can be perceived as aristocratic, Voeller, with his old-fashioned 1970s haircut and moustache, is regarded as the archetypal man next-door.
Voeller's outburst was in large part a defence of his team and his players soon repaid him, fighting for a 2-1 win over Scotland before outplaying Iceland 3-0 to win their group.
Just to keep Voeller busy, Arsenal's Jens Lehmann caused more controversy in February by saying he was the best Germany goalkeeper and should replace Oliver Kahn at number one.
Since taking over in the wake of Germany's shock first-round exit from Euro 2000, Voeller has taken some hard knocks and been through some tough times, notably after the traumatic 5-1 defeat to England in the World Cup qualifiers three years ago that led to Germany having to beat Ukraine in a playoff to make the 2002 finals.
Most coaches in such a situation would have come under pressure to resign but Voeller was not fazed.
"There have been difficult situations but all were profitable," he said. "What you have to do is learn from them."
It is a testament to Voeller's strength -- and the enduring standard of German football through the years, that they will again be a threat to everyone else next month.

 

 « The Squad »

 Germany

Players DOB Club Cap Goal
Rudi Völler C 13.04.1960
1. Oliver Kahn G 15.06.1969 Bayern
12. Jens Lehmann G 10.11.1969 Arsenal
23. Timo Hildebrand G Stuttgart
6. Frank Baumann D 29.10.1975 Bremen
3. Arne Friedrich D 29.05.1979 Hertha
2. Andreas Hinkel D 26.03.1982 Stuttgart
21. Philipp Lahm D Stuttgart
5. Jens Nowotny D Leverkusen
4. Christian Wörns D 10.05.1972 Dortmund
17. Christian Ziege D 01.02.1972 Tottenham
13. Michael Ballack M 26.09.1976 Bayern
18. Fabian Ernst M 30.05.1979 Bremen
7. Bastian Schweinsteiger M Bayern
22. Torsten Frings M 22.11.1976 Dortmund
8. Dietmar Hamann M 27.08.1973 Liverpool
16. Jens Jeremies M 05.03.1974 Bayern
15. Sebastian Kehl M Dortmund
19. Bernd Schneider F 17.11.1973 Leverkusen
9. Fredi Bobic F 30.10.1971 Hertha
14. Thomas Brdaric F Hanover 96
10. Kevin Kuranyi F 02.03.1982 Stuttgart
11. Miroslav Klose F 09.06.1978 Kaiserslautern
20. Lukas Podolski F Cologne
 

 

 

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Federation Deutscher Fussball Bund (1900)

Headquarter Otto Fleck Schneise 6, Postfach 710265 - 60528 Francoforte

Website www.dfb.de

President Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder
Best Performance in Finals Champions in 1972, 1980 & 1996
Recent record in Finals
1980 Champions
1984 Round-1
1988 Semi-Final
1992 Runners-Up
1996 Champions
2000 Round-1 

 

 « Road to Portugal »

2-0
2-1
1-1
1-1
2-0
0-0
2-1
3-0

v Lithuania
v Faroe Islands
v Lithuania
v Scotland
v Faroe Islands
v Iceland
v Scotland
v Iceland
A
H
H
A
A
A
H
H

 

 « Final Tournament »

D v Netherlands

   1800 CET 15 June 2004

D v Latvia

   1800 CET 19 June 2004

D v Czech Republic

   2045 CET 23 June 2004

 

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