The Euro 1996 winner believes the holders are most likely to take honours at next summer's tournament due to their psychological advantageEXCLUSIVE
By Maximilian Bensinger
Continuing in Goal.com's three-part interview with Thomas Strunz, the retired midfielder discusses the Germany national team.
In part one of our interview, Strunz discussed the state of his former club side, Bayern Munich. Now, he talks about Joachim Low's side, including their chances at Euro 2012 following their perfect qualifying campaign.
Be sure to look for the third and final instalment of our series on Tuesday.
Goal.com: Will Germany win the European Championship next summer?
Thomas Strunz: "If we are mentally prepared, if the team really believes in the title, then it is possible. It's amazing how we played in our great qualifying campaign. Even in games when it no longer mattered, which I found quite remarkable. The team must internalise this belief that they can win the title. In the end we also need luck. Every team that ever won a title at a tournament has been lucky at some point. A late goal or a win on penalties, or otherwise."
Who are the favourites and where is the German national team?
Thomas Strunz: "Spain are naturally favourites, but then come Germany. Behind them come teams like England, Italy, and the Netherlands. All have great players, but are not as strong as Germany."
As you have already said, these teams have great players. Why do they still differ from Germany and Spain?
Thomas Strunz: "Germany have just been a growing team. If one takes 2006 as a starting point, then the team has developed steadily. In terms not only of personnel, but also of playing culture. We are just a step ahead. The remaining teams are not so established in their team structure."
How are Spain currently better than Germany?
Thomas Strunz: "The Spaniards have an extra advantage: they know how to win titles. The players have already won everything with the national and club teams."
Is Mesut Ozil the key figure to the Germans' title hopes? After all, he's a Real Madrid star, the counterpart of the Barcelona block in the Spanish national team.
Thomas Strunz: "Surely he must be one of those who has answers on the pitch. The players in central positions must impose their will. Through their play, posture, and their whole presence. Psychology is a very important issue.
How important are psychological aspects?
Thomas Strunz: "Training is not rocket science. There are millions of books about it, but it does not matter if I spend eight or 10 minutes warming up. This is not decisive in the end. What is important is how a team works together, how the team performs psychologically, and above all the team's obedience. This difference is made between a coach and a great coach."