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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

Tribal gathering

Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
10 best trays

Get carried away with 10 best trays

Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend