Euro 2012 Tactical Analysis: Will Germany's slick passing prevail?

The Germans have a difficult group to contend with but their superiority is undeniable. They will be involved in some mouth-watering clashes at Euro 2012. analyses...

Ever since the 2006 World Cup, German football has been revolutionised. They have come a long way from their pragmatic methods involving disciplined defending and rigid formations. The Germans have instead adopted an attractive, possession-based style of play.

Germany finished 3rd in the 2006 World Cup and have only improved since then. Their performances at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup left audiences speechless. Their 4-2-3-1 formation was played with fluidity and they attacked with a deadly force. Having been beaten narrowly by Spain in the finals of the last Euros and semi-finals at the World Cup, they will be desperate to finally get their hands on a trophy



The partnership in central defense is probably the department in which Germany were lacking the most in the past. This time around they have a formidable pairing in that of Badstuber and Hummels. The two defenders have both had good seasons at their respective clubs and will be in good form going into this tournament.

When Germany lose possession they work frantically to regain it. Their style of pressing high up the pitch in order to pressurise their opponents and force an error is most effectively employed by Bundesliga champions, Borussia Dortmund. While defending, the forward line will persist with their motive to attack, only this time without the ball. The front four will hustle their opponents, allowing them no time on the ball while the deeper lying midfielders will tend to any movement in the form of forward runs initiated by the attacking team. Their defense will hold a firm line and make sure that no striker is afforded the space to run into. Manager Joachim Loew might play Lars Bender in the right back slot as he has been impressive though Jerome Boateng remains the favourite.


When the Germans try to regain possession, their forward players are already pressing high up the pitch so in the event of an error by their opponents, they will immediately be able to attack with numbers, often overpowering the opposition’s defence.

When already in possession, the Germans’ build-up play is defined by their quick short passing and movement. Joachim Loew has worked extensively on shortening the “receive and release” time of each of his players in this system. This method of keeping the ball at a single player’s feet for a short span of time ensures that the ball keep moving and have the opposition chasing shadows. Mesut Ozil will be the main creative force as he takes on the role of ‘trequartista’. His ability to drift into wide areas by switching positions with either Muller or Podolski denies defenders the option of marking him incessantly. Having said that, Ozil isn't always the one making the decisive pass and he doesn't need to be either. Podolski and Muller are more than capable of finding an opening and the ball is usually darted about in midfield until a space opens up and one of them plays the ball through it.



Strengths –
Compared to previous tournaments, on this occasion the squad has been heavily bolstered by new faces and the maturity of others. Their strength in depth will give them plenty of options and cover. They have mastered their short passing style of play and oppositions won’t be able to live with it.

Weaknesses – Picking the right personnel will be a key factor in their pursuit for European glory. With the amount of options they have in midfield and attack, they still lack the same quality of cover in defence and a couple of injuries to their first choice defenders could make them slightly fragile at the back.

Opportunities – In many ways, this German side seems to have come of age. The likes of Ozil, Khedira and Kroos are now accomplished players in contrast to the exceptionally talented youngsters they were at the last tournament. In Mario Goetze, they have a magical player who could make a real impact when called upon.

Threats – Having been drawn in the ‘Group of death’, progress into the next round is not a foregone conclusion despite their tag as one of the favourites to win the trophy. Portugal, Netherlands and to some extent Denmark will provide ample competition and the Germans will have to focus to ensure that they get the job done.


"In each of our three matches we will have to perform at our best if we want to prevail"

- Joachim Loew


This supremely talented German side is the main threat as far as Spain is concerned. The young group of players that dazzled us by beating Argentina 4-0 in the quarter-finals of the last World Cup has since matured into superstars and the emergence of new players have bolstered the squad significantly. The Germans are firm favourites to strip the Spaniards of their title.

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