Löw on the up: So just how good is the new-look Germany side?


Move over Ballack: this is a new cosmopolitan team

Joachim Löw says that after losing the final of Euro 2008 to Spain with an ageing side "it was clear we needed to rejuvenate". He has changed almost the half the squad in the ensuing two years and in particular has made use of the new cosmopolitan Germany to find players who would otherwise be qualified for eight other countries. This was a process begun by the various German youth teams, all of whom have been hugely successful in their various European tournaments.

Mesut Ozil, born in Gelsenkirchen, is typical as the son of Turkish "Gastarbeiter" (guest workers). Serdar Tasci, a defender yet to be used, is also of Turkish origin. Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose, older members of the squad, were both born in Poland. Also of eastern European extraction is midfielder Marko Marin, who was born in Bosnia-Herzogovina. Dennis Aogo was qualified for Nigeria, Sami Kedira for Tunisia and Jerome Boateng for Ghana. The clearest examples of the new international mix in the side, however, are the strikers Cacau, a naturalised German born in Brazil, and Mario Gomez, who has a Spanish father.

What we've learnt about them so far...

Qualifying

Finland held them twice, 3-3 and 1-1, but every other game was won. No mean feat considering Löw was in the process of rebuilding the side that were runners-up at Euro 2008 – nine of those players have now been replaced. Their low point was being booed off at half-time against Wales, early in the campaign, but they still won that match 1-0. Travelling to Moscow at the start of winter, Germany's 1-0 win was outstanding, and enabled them to finish four points clear of Guus Hiddink's Russians. Apart from those three goals in Helsinki, they conceded only two more in nine games.

What we learnt Flair can be in short supply

Efficiency rating 8/10

First group game: Beat Australia 4-0

Klose and Podolski are back with a bang. Klose had scored only three Bundesliga goals all season for Bayern Munich and Podolski was just as sluggish at Cologne. But each scored against a fairly poor Australian side that went down to 10 men. Ozil was dazzling, one of the starlets promoted from last summer's European Under-21 champions – he ran the midfield on his debut at the finals.

What we learnt Beware Ozil and the men up front

Efficiency rating 8/10

Second group game: Lost to Serbia 1-0

Per Mertesacker's lack of pace and slowness to pick up was exposed as Löw's side, albeit down to 10 men after Klose's red card, were beaten. Milan Jovanovic was left free in the six-yard box for just long enough to hook in a shot. Left-back Holger Badstuber also struggled badly.

What we learnt The defence has problems

Efficiency rating 6/10

Third group game: Geat Ghana 1-0

Needing a win to ensure their progress to the knockout stages, the Germans went for a quick kill, seeking that vital goal from the off. It made for an unexpectedly open-ended game and at times they rode their luck with again Mertsacker and sometimes Philipp Lahm at right-back left isolated. Löw's bold strategy finally paid off with Ozil's fine strike.

What we learnt Löw is prepared to gamble

Efficiency rating 7/10

Where they're strongest

The creativity of Ozil could cause England problems on Sunday. The playmaker will look to float passes behind Glen Johnson for Podolski to run onto. Ozil's shrewd distribution can also allow Klose to use his pace against England's central defenders.

Where they're vulnerable

As shown by the only goal they have conceded so far, against Serbia, the Germans are weak at left-back and in Mertsacker have a tall, ponderous centre-half slow to cover. This left Jovanovic to score from Nikola Zigic's knock-down after Badstuber had been outpaced. Mertsacker's partner, Arne Friedrich, is more reliable.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week