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HOW THEY QUALIFIED

  GROUP A GP GD PTS
1 Germany (Q)       10 10 0 0 27 30
2 Turkey 10 5 2 3 2 17
3 Belgium 10 4 3 3 6 15
4 Austria 10 3 3 4 -1 12
5 Azerbaijan 10 2 1 7 -16 7
6 Kazakhstan           10 1 1 8 -18 4


RESULTS TOP SCORERS
Sep 3, 2010 Belgium 0-1 Germany
Sep 7, 2010 Germany 6-1 Azerbaijan
Oct 8, 2010 Germany 3-0 Turkey
Oct 12, 2010 Kazakhstan 0-3 Germany
Mar 26, 2011  Germany 4-0 Kazakhstan
Jun 3, 2011: Austria 1-2 Germany
Jun 7, 2011: Azerbaijan 1-3 Germany
Sep 2, 2011: Germany 6-2 Austria
Oct 7, 2011: Turkey 1-3 Germany
Oct 11, 2011: Germany 3-1 Belgium
9 - Miroslav Klose
6 - Mario Gomez
5 - Mesut Ozil
3 - Lukas Podolski,
Thomas Muller,
Andre Schurrle
1 - Holger Badstuber, Mario Gotze,
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Heiko Westermann

Germany stormed through their qualifying campaign: they were the first to book their place in Poland and Ukraine, won every match, and earned more points than any other team. After a narrow win away to Belgium in their opener, the record European champions earned multi-goal victories in all their other fixtures but for one, a 2-1 road win over Austria in which Mario Gomez fired home a last-minute winner.

There were many changes between the squad that featured in the opener and the one deployed in the final matchday in October. But whether Gomez or Miroslav Klose started in attack, whether Bastian Schweinsteiger or Toni Kroos ran the midfield, or otherwise, one thing was consistent: Germany were dominant.

PAST RECORD IN THE EUROS 

1960
Did not enter
1988
Semi-finalists
1964
Did not enter
1992
Runners-up
1968
Did not qualify
1996
Winners
1972
Winners
2000
Group stage
1976
Runners-up
2004
Group stage
1980
Winners
2008
Runners-up
1984
Group stage
2012
Qualified as group winners

Having won the European Championship three times in the past, Germany are the tournament's most successful nation. Their first win came in their first appearance, in 1972, in which legends including Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Paul Breitner and more marched through the tournament, beating the Soviet Union 3-0 in the final.

Germany went on to repeat the triumph eight years later as Horst Hrubesch's late strike sunk Belgium in the final. After a poor 1984 tournament, they steadily improved before claiming their third title in 1996 as Oliver Bierhoff netted a golden goal in the final against the Czech Republic.

Germany's disaster at Euro 2000 prompted a youth initiative in the Bundesliga that has resulted in their vastly increased talent pool as of late, and after finishing runners-up at Euro 2008, they are hungry for a first tournament win in 16 years.

THE COACH | JOACHIM LOW


Since taking over from Jurgen Klinsmann in 2006, the former assistant national team coach has enjoyed an immensely successful run, but as of yet no trophies. Low led Germany to the Euro 2008 final, and his side finished third at the World Cup two years later.

In building upon the foundation he formed while working under Klinsmann, Low has instilled a fast-paced, attractive attacking philosophy that emphasises both physical and technical aspects of the game, and has been a resounding success. Having won 52 of his 77 matches in charge as of a May 2012 friendly against Switzerland, Low boasts the best win percentage of any German national team coach in history.

THE CAPTAIN | PHILIPP LAHM


There were massive shoes for Lahm to fill as he took over for Michael Ballack ahead of World Cup 2010, and the fact that he did so under some controversy made it even more difficult. His predecessor had no intent to simply surrender the armband, and Lahm was stuck in a very tricky situation.

To his credit, the Bayern Munich man took everything in stride and has since adapted well: the most obvious example of course is in South Africa, where he stood in superbly, settling the team and inspiring some outstanding performances. He is not a very vocal man, but Lahm knows how to lead by example and has done so countless times while wearing the national team shirt.

THE STAR PLAYER | MESUT OZIL

Since finding his way into Low's squad in 2009, Ozil has been an integral part of the Germany team, and surely enough he maintained his fine international form during the Euro qualifiers. The Real Madrid playmaker featured in all but one of his team's 10 games, and scored or assisted more than 35 per cent of Germany's goals.

Ozil affirmed the class he showed at the 2010 World Cup, and added creativity in a way that had not been seen in Germany for years. But what was most impressive was his consistency; the youngster was able to regularly bring his best performances, and with him in the centre of attack, Germany thrived.

THE EMERGING TALENT | MARIO GOTZE


Ozil's spot is not in jeopardy, but due to the emergence of Gotze, it's safe to say that the Real Madrid man is now replaceable if necessary. Multiple times - and particularly in Germany's 3-2 friendly win over Brazil - the Dortmund playmaker stood in for Ozil and die Mannschaft's attack never missed a beat.

A player of immense natural technique, an uncommonly sharp mind for the game and a quick turn of pace, Gotze is a complete package. He has plenty of competition in the form of established stars, but given his ability to play left, right, and centre, he will surely have his chances, even if only as a substitute.


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