Thursday, May 29, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Germany Team Preview

The squad: German football reached a low point at Euro 2004 when the squad failed to win a match. Two years later, a new wave of talent led the home team to a surprising third-place finish at the World Cup. The three Euro titles won by West Germany/Germany are the most all-time, with the last coming in 1996.

The players: Following a nine-month absence due to injury, midfielder Michael Ballack returned to form during Chelsea's run to the Champions League Final. Bayern Munich's Miroslav Klose will need to rediscover his scoring touch. The Polish-born striker has netted only four goals since November. Jens Lehmann, one of the heroes of the '06 run, is expected to start in goal despite limited appearances this season with Arsenal.

The schedule: vs. Poland (6/8); vs. Croatia (6/12); vs. Austria (6/16)

The prediction: Playing close to home, the Germans should have plenty of support and the draw sets up nicely for a trip to the Final. Once there, Italy will again stop them short of a title.

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