Customarily, Dream Team gaffers would approach a major international tournament with expectations of the Germans going deep.
Germany have won the European Championship three times, celebrated four World Cup victories, and made the semi-finals of those respective tournaments a further 15 times in their history.
It’s these numbers that form the basis of Die Mannschaft’s reputation as tournament alphas.
However, on the eve of Euro 2020, there’s a different feeling around Joachim Low’s side – not least because it’s the long-serving coach’s last hurrah.
In their last outing, Germany lost 2-1 to North Macedonia in what was an instantly infamous upset.
In November of last year, Spain battered them 6-0 as Ferran Torres scored a hat-trick to embarrass a relatively strong side.
Lump these standout results in with a shambolic showing at the 2018 World Cup – where they finished bottom of their group – and this behemoth of world football appears considerably more vulnerable than usual.
The Euro 2020 draw slapped a target on Germany’s underbelly by pitting them against World champions France and European champions Portugal (and Hungary).
Most people on these shores wouldn’t shed a tear if the Germans fell at the first hurdle again this summer but Dream Team Euros adds another layer of complexity – surely some of their players are worth a spot in your XI?
At the timing of writing, Manuel Neuer is the second-most popular goalkeeper in Dream Team Euros.
With Marc-Andre ter Stegen ruled out through injury, the Bayern Munich legend is assured of a starting spot and will captain his country at the tournament.
After a minor wobble 18 months ago, his shot-stopping has returned to a familiarly high standard – his masterclass in last season’s Champions League final is fresh in the mind.
However, the fact he’s due to face Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema first up at Euro 2020 must surely be a factor.
Staying clear of Neuer and his defence may be wise until the picture becomes clearer.
If memories of Germany’s past glories override their present problems then you’re probably best off picking their superstar midfielders.
Leon Goretzka, Toni Kroos, Joshua Kimmich, Kai Havertz, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Ilkay Gundogan… it’s an undeniably impressive group.
Experienced Dream Team bosses will know that attacking intent is the priority when selecting midfielders and so it may be wise to swerve Kroos and Kimmich despite their substantial class.
There’s a good chance Havertz will mirror his false nine role at international level – making him an enticing option – but surely the firepower of Sane and Gnabry is the way to go.
The latter has scored 15 goals in 20 games for Germany, a strike rate unmatched by those in his position.
Then there’s the reinvented Gundogan who heads into this summer’s tournament off the back of his best-ever season – he’s bagged 17 goals for Man City in all competitions.
Up front, Timo Werner offers an enigmatic possibility.
The Chelsea forward has spent half the season offside and, on the rare occasions he’s stayed goalside of the last defender, he’s squandered gilt-edged chances.
And yet, in a weird way, he’s also been sort of good.
His speed and movement have earned the Blues plenty of penalties and a haul of 12 goals and ten assists is perfectly respectable – those numbers certainly don’t paint the image of a certified ‘flop’ signing.
The return of Thomas Muller may help Werner erase memories of his horrible miss during the aforementioned defeat to North Macedonia as the self-anointed raumduter is the master of assists – just ask Robert Lewandowski.
However, with so many great options in attack, backing a player in a period of sustained hot-and-cold form seems counter-intuitive.
When it comes to Germany, it’s probably best to limit yourself to their midfield talent pool until we get a better sense of their chances at Euro 2020.
Most-popular Germany players (ownership) among Dream Team Euros managers at this stage:
- Manuel Neuer – 15.7%
- Serge Gnabry – 15.1%
- Ilkay Gundogan – 10.9%
- Timo Werner – 8.1%
- Antonio Rudiger – 8.1%
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