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Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 17:18 UK

Germany team guide

BBC Sport's Euro 2008 guide to Germany.

Fixtures (Group B):


v Poland - 8 June, 1945 BST, Klagenfurt
Poland team guide

v Croatia - 12 June, 1700 BST, Klagenfurt
Croatia team guide

v Austria - 16 June, 1945 BST, Vienna
Austria team guide

How did they get there: Broke records by hammering San Marino 13-0 away from home and were the first country to qualify for the Euros. Conceded top spot in Group D when they lost 3-0 in Munich to Czech Republic, but were ravaged by injury at the time.

Manager: Joachim Low. Ensured a degree of continuity after the success of the Jurgen Klinsmann-inspired Germany from the 2006 World Cup, Low was the coach's trusted deputy and has since emerged as a fine manager in his own right, leading them to a comfortable qualification.

A cartoon of Michael Ballack
Captain: Michael Ballack. The Chelsea man enjoyed a far more productive second season in the Premier League than his first and he is the fulcrum of the German side, a fantastic leader and role model to the young players around him.

Euro highlights: Quite a few. Won the tournament as West Germany in 1972, thanks to Gerd Muller's four goals in two games, in 1980 with Horst Hrubesch's headed brace in the final and, most recently and after unification, as Germany in 1996 when Oliver Bierhoff's golden goal saw off Czech Republic at Wembley.

Euro legend: Jurgen Klinsmann. Muller might have bagged four goals in two games in 1972, but the talismanic Klinsmann played in three successive European Championships - 1988, 1992 and 1996 - and notched five times across those tournaments, winning one Euro, losing one final and one semi-final.

Miroslav Klose

Star man: Miroslav Klose. Certainly not the most gifted player in Germany's ranks, but easily the most clinical. With 39 goals from 74 caps and 10 goals at two World Cups, the Bayern Munich striker is the man for the big occasion and will lead the line for the Germans.

Strengths: Klinsmann revolutionised the way Germany play, making them much more attack-minded and Low has continued this strategy. They score more goals, play more football and are a whole lot easier on the eye. They have tightened up at the back too, ominously.

Weaknesses: They have goals in the team, but as far as creative match-winners go they look a bit short. Ballack plays in a deeper role and Klose does not have a regular strike partner, with Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski in the running to feature.

World ranking: 5th.

Our verdict: Playing on their own doorstep in countries that speak the same language and still buoyed by their World Cup displays two years ago, it is easy to see why Germany are so highly fancied. Not the best team there on paper, but a very dangerous proposition.

see also
Low calls up Ballack and Lehmann
24 May 08 |  Germany
Pick your Germany XI
23 May 08 |  Germany
Country profile: Germany
04 Mar 08 |  Country profiles

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