A Tour around Europe: The Rebirth of Germany

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On the 7th April 2010 Arjen Robben silenced Old Trafford with a sensational volley that put Bayern Munich into the semi-final of the Champions League at the expense of Manchester United. This result marked the start of the rebirth of German football which previous to that had been, at best faltering. Although the German giants have been struggling of late, most noticeably with a shock 1-0 loss to Manchester United’s conquerors FC Basel they are still a dominant domestic force. They are however being challenged by the resurgent Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Mönchengladbach and FC Schalke 04. The national team made it to the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2010 and are strongly tipped for this summer’s European Championships and with the emergence of a number of promising youngsters times are good for German football.

One of the most promising youngsters in Germany and indeed the world is 19 year old Mario Götze from Dortmund.

Gotze's talent is just one of the reasons for Dortmund's rebirth

The tricky winger has taken the Bundesliga by storm over the last two seasons and he has already established himself at international level as well as proving to be vital to his club. Last season along with Shinji Kagawa, Nuri Sahin (who left for Real Madrid) and Mats Hummels Götze led an un-fancied Dortmund to the title and they currently sit top again. If they were the surprise package last year then this year it has to be Gladbach who are just behind them in second. One of the reasons down to their success is their very impressive defensive record which is reads 22 games played 13 goals conceded. This is mostly down to 19 year old goalkeeper Marc-André ter Stegen who has thoroughly impressed this season and has already drawn comparisons with the great Oliver Khan.

His ability in defence is matched by the attacking ability of winger Marco Reus who has scored 13 goals so far this season.

This is the last season for Gladbach fans to watch Reus

Although he is doing his best to keep Gladbach in a Champions League spot this is the last season at Borussia-Park for the 22 year old as he is to re-join his old club Dortmund in a deal believed to be around €17.5 million at the end of the season. Finally in 3rd we find the kings of Germany, Bayern Munich. They spent big in summer on players like Jerome Boateng, Rafinha and Manuel Neuer and would have been looking to return the title to Munich but things haven’t gone as plan. With the second most goals for and against in the league (thanks to Neuer and 18 goal Mario Gomez) Munich find themselves only in 3rd and four points off the pace at the top. Combine this with a one goal deficit in their Champions League tie and it is clear to see that things need to improve soon for the 21 time champions.

Lower down the table Schalke are still a very realistic threat to the top three especially with Klaas Jan-Huntelaar in blistering form ably supported by veteran Raul. The other two players towards the business end of the golden boot table are Claudio Pizarro and Lukas Podolski who play for Werder Bremen and Köln respectively. Chelsea fans will not remember Pizarro with fond memories as the Peruvian, who is the top foreign scorer of all time in Germany, only managed two goals in his time in London but he has settled back into the Bundesliga and is looking sharp and strong again. Podolski is attracting attention from London at the moment but it’s from the North as Arsene Wenger llooks to bolster his front line in the summer. Rumours of a joint £55 million bid for Podolski and Mario Götze are wide of the mark as it is highly unlikely that Dortmund will allow their starlet to leave for less than £40-50 million or even more but a summer move for the Köln striker is by no means out of the question.

Overall it is clear to see that Germany is progressing nicely in tandem with Spanish football and at a far better rate than English football. With established players like Phillip Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Ozil helping the younger generation grow into the national team the Germans would be a very sensible bet for the European Championships in June. They should use this summer as the platform for 2014 where they should look to avenge their 2002 final defeat and return the trophy to Germany.

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