2010 World Cup Preview – Germany

Germany is a nation with an impressive World Cup pedigree. Having qualified for every World Cup competition since its creation in 1930 of which they have won three, they are a side that are seemingly purpose-built for tournament football, featuring in the final or semi-finals of three of the last four major tournaments. With coach Joachim Löw, who many regard to have been the brains behind the their resurgent campaign four years ago, the Germans have stability at all levels, which makes it all the more baffling that they are seen as outsiders this summer in South Africa.

Though the current crop of German stars do not conform to the defensively minded, ruthlessly efficient stereotype, they are not without talent in defence. Until injury ended Rene Adler’s World Cup hopes, he and Schalke custodian Manuel Neuer were providing healthy competition for a starting berth in goal. Neuer will now have the opportunity to assert himself as number one after an outstanding season at club level, helping Schalke finish second in the Bundesliga. In front of him Jogi Löw is likely to go with a pairing of sought after Tasci and the giant Mertesacker, with the effervescent Philipp Lahm providing threat on either wing of the defence.

Lahm is among the favourites to be handed Germany’s captaincy following the untimely injury to Michael Ballack; the eternal bridesmaid will not get to compete in a final this summer, much less finish second in one. This presents Löw with a headache in midfield, despite Schweinsteiger’s shift to a more central role for Bayern being one of the season’s success stories. Sami Khedira, who was drafted in as back-up for Ballack will now start alongside Schweinsteiger, but beyond those two Germany are sorely lacking in central midfield – a department in which they are traditionally strong. The presence of versatile genius Ozil, former Bayern playmaker Kroos and classy winger Marin is likely to be Germany’s greatest attacking threat, with the new generation of creative players an exciting prospect for Die Mannschaft…

Read the full Germany World Cup Preview in which talk turns to Germany’s World Cup qualification and how they will fare in Group D without Chelsea’s Michael Ballack at http://topcam.wordpress.com/