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The Germans seem ever-present at major tournaments and this year, like three times previously they will enter the European Championships as World Champions and red-hot favorites. European Championship winners in each 1972,1980 and 1996, no team has a better pedigree than Germany.

How They Qualified: The Group D winners were pushed to the wire an topped the group by just a point. Group runners-up Poland beat them 2-0in Warsaw while Rep Ireland snatched a late victory in Dublin. Despite some less than convincing performances and the two losses Germany came up with the goods when necessary. Thomas Muller was his usual opportunistic self by scoring 9 goals in qualification.

Tournament History: Winners 1972, 1980, 1996.

Coach: Joachim Low. The former number 2 to previous coach Klinsmann has now etched his name and touchline dress style into history after reigning triumphant at the 2014 World Cup through an extra time winner from Mario Gotze against Argentina in the final. It’s hard to pin point exactly what Jogi does given the wealth of able players at his disposal but it is clear his record for the German team is top notch. Win or lose, speculation will surround the coach as to whether he will remain as boss after the tournament with numerous vacancies opening up around Europe to tempt Herr Low. The gegenpress is a must.

Nicknames: Die Mannschaft, DB-Elf (DFB eleven).

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We tried to find a picture of Neuer (above) making a save but there weren’t any.

Key Man: Manuel Neuer. Most peoples first choice for player of the tournament at the 2014 World Cup, the Bayern Munch stopper has proved himself integral to the Germany style of play with his feet rather than his hands. Neuer has revolutionized the role of sweeper keeper, or rush goalie if you like, while at the same time rising to prominence as one of the best players in the world due to his more traditional goalkeeping capabilities as well. He may have had a few rushes of blood to the head during the Champions League but Neuer is still someone Germany can rely on.

One To Watch: Juilan Draxler. The 22-year-old Wolfsburg striker recently moved from Schalke in order to make his case for the national team and that he has. Impressive performances in Europe and in the Bundesliga have stated a clear and concise case that should any of the German heavy weights such as Ozil or Reus falter, he will be waiting in the wings, or in the hole behind the striker, to capitalize.

Fixtures:

June 12, 3 p.m. vs. Ukraine

June 16, 3 p.m. vs. Poland

June 21, 12 p.m. vs. Northern Ireland

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)

Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Emre Can (Liverpool), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Shkodran Mustafi (Valencia), Johnathan Tah (Hamburg).

Midfielders: Julian Draxler (Wolfsburg), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray), Andre Schuerrle (Wolfsburg), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United), Julian Weigl (Borussia Dortmund).

Forwards: Mario Gomez (Besiktas), Mario Goetze (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Schalke).