Attacking riches fuel German belief
Germany's attacking potential could take them a long way
German national team coach Joachim Löw is undoubtedly a lucky man. With all five of his strike candidates boasting proven track records, the Mannschaft enjoy a plethora of attacking options for UEFA EURO 2008™.
Top scorer at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Miroslav Klose experienced something of an under-par Bundesliga campaign by his own high standards, although his tally of ten strikes in 27 appearances was still respectable. He also weighed in with eight assists as he forged a successful partnership with in-form Italian marksman Luca Toni and registered five goals in the UEFA Cup, also hitting the target during Germany's recent warm-up encounter with Belarus.
Even more impressive last term was VfB Stuttgart's Mario Gómez, who scored 19 goals in 25 Bundesliga fixtures and has likewise found the net in his last two international outings against Austria and Switzerland, scoring twice in the 4-0 win against the latter. "It was always a goal of mine to be at a big tournament," said the 22-year-old. "Of course I hope to play, but we have a lot of great strikers."
Lukas Podolski also played in 25 Bundesliga games last season but only completed 90 minutes on four occasions. Despite that drawback, the Bayern forward scored five league goals and another five from 12 appearances in the UEFA Cup. Podolski turns 23 four days before Germany begin their Group B bid against Poland on 8 June, but of Löw's quintet he is second only to Klose in terms of goals scored for his country having struck an impressive 25 in 47 games.
Eager to shine
Kevin Kuranyi's international record stands up to scrutiny as well, with the FC Schalke 04 striker boasting 19 strikes from 46 matches. He also reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2007/08, scoring three during Schalke's run including the winner in their 1-0 first knockout round first-leg success against FC Porto. Now 26 and eager to shine after failing to make the cut for the 2006 World Cup, Kuranyi made waves in the Bundesliga too, with 15 goals from 32 appearances. "I am really looking forward to my second European Championship and hope I get the chance to show what I can do," he said.
Löw has also called up Oliver Neuville, a very experienced attacker who spent last season in the 2. Bundesliga with VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach. The 35-year-old has amassed 67 caps over the years and proved he can still make a difference by powering his club to promotion with 15 goals. Group B rivals Austria, Poland and Croatia would do well to tighten up their defences between now and the start of the tournament.