By Sportswriter Jesse
HAGUE, June 2 (Xinhua) -- When Germany participates in a major tournament they are always considered favorites and this time at Euro 2012 is no different, as they are rated top favorites to gain their fourth European title.
After the 2006 World Cup in Germany, assistant Joachim Low was promoted to head coach of the German national football team. He continued the policy of his predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann by rejuvenating and developing a new and attractive playing Germany.
Under guidance of Low the Germans finished runners-up at the past 2008 European Championships after losing 1-0 to Spain in the final and at the 2010 World Cup 'Die Mannschaft' ended third after yet again losing 1-0 to world champions Spain in the semi-finals.
According to Low Spain is once more the team to beat. "I don't see us as clear favorites," he said on the UEFA website. "Spain have been the most consistent team over the last few years. There are also quite a few other teams capable of winning the competition. European Championship is always a devilishly hard tournament to win."
Just like Spain Germany had a perfect campaign towards Euro 2012 taking a maximum of 30 points out of ten matches in qualification Group A. Low thinks his team has developed well over the past two years.
"We have many young players, who have never played a big tournament. It's a similar situation to 2010. An advantage is that our foundation is better than in 2008 or even 2010, with our philosophy now solidified over the past two years. We have a very balanced squad with a good age structure."
One of the big advantages for Low is that he can pick from a large amount of quality players. Defensively Germany looks solid with probably goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, captain Philipp Lahm, Holger Badstuber, Per Mertesacker and Jerome Boateng in the last line.
Especially the midfield and attacking options are impressive with the likes of Bayern Munich's Toni Kroos, Thomas Muller, Mario Gomez and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Real Madid's Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira, future Arsenal player Lukas Podolski and also Borussia Dortmund's rising star Mario Gotze.
However, the Bayern delegation has to overcome a disappointing and maybe traumatic season finishing second in the Bundesliga, the German Cup and the Champions League.
Gotze returned from four months on the sidelines with a pair of injuries recently, but Low expects a lot from the youngster.
"Of course, it motivates me tremendously when the coach expresses this. I will make every effort to repay the trust with performances," Gotze told German newspaper Bild.
The architect of the German team listens to the name of Mesut Ozil. The German born 23-year-old midfielder from Turkish descent combines creativity and vision with a speed and a good mentality.
Germany is historically one of the most successful national teams at international competitions, having won a total of three World Cups (1954, 1974, 1990) and three European Championships (1972, 1980, 1996). However, the last title dates back to 1996 and the whole nation expects gold this summer.
"We were quite close before and hopefully it will work this time," Ozil said. "Our goal is to get the title and I am convinced we can achieve that. Our goal is to be successful, and we will give everything for that."
Following is Germany's 23-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Tim Wiese (SV Werder Bremen), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96)
Defenders: Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Benedikt Howedes (FC Schalke 04), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Marco Reus (VfL Borussia Monchengladbach), Andre Schurrle (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Mario Gotze (Borussia Dortmund), Ilkay Gundogan (Borussia Dortmund)
Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Lukas Podolski (FC Koln).