The UEFA European Championship’s most successful team and runners-up to Spain in 2008, Germany are aiming for a fourth title after qualifying for the finals with a perfect record.
BERLIN: Coach Joachim Löw goes to Euro 2012 with a job guarantee, having guided Germany to runner-up at Euro 2008 and third at the 2010 World Cup. But only victory in the Kiev final will enhance his status here.
Having taken over as head coach in 2006, Löw knows his job is safe until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, regardless of results at the European Championships in Ukraine and Poland.
Germany are among the favourites to lift the title having qualified with 10 wins from 10, but 52-year-old Löw needs to finally claim a major title after going close twice.
“We all agree that in Löw and [team manager Oliver] Bierhoff we have the best pair possible,” Wolfgang Niersbach, the president of the German Football Federation (DFB) has said.
“They both do excellent jobs and so we see no reason to change a winning formula. If we have to suffer disappointment, we are strong enough to stand up and face it.”
Despite his impressive 52 wins in 76 internationals with 13 draws and 11 defeats in six years, Löw needs the Euro 2012 crown to be considered one of his country’s top coaches and with the German public craving their first title for 16 years.
Other than a title, his record compares favourably with Germany’s legendary coaches Franz Beckenbauer, who coached the 1990 World Cup winning team, and Berti Vogts, whose side won Euro 96.
Germany’s former reputation of ruthless efficiency has been replaced by fleet-footed attack, with Löw playing a single striker up front supported by pace on the flanks. It was in South Africa two years ago when Löw’s young side made the world sit up and take notice. The Germans ran riot in the World Cup knock-out stages beating England 4-1 in the Round of 16. Argentina were then dispatched 4-0 in the quarter-finals before Spain halted their march in the last four.
Germany carried their South Africa form into Euro 2012 qualifying while friendly wins over Brazil, in August, and Holland, last November, underlined their status as favourites.