Posted On Sunday, June 24, 2012 at 09:15:00 AM
|Germany’s Philipp Lahm (left) celebrates scoring a goal with teammate Miroslav Klose during their Euro 2012 quarter-final against Greece in Gdansk on Friday
Germany coach Joachim Loew always seems to make the right choice, whether he goes with comprehensive analysis from his scouts, his gut feeling or a combination of both.
Every one of Loew’s choices so far at the European Championship has been the correct one.
Loew is known as a meticulous planner and the Germans generally prepare for every match in great detail. But when asked earlier in the tournament about his decision-making process, Loew said he often trusted his instinct as well.
|Giorgos Samaras scored Greece’s
opening goal in the 55th minute
He started the tournament with Mario Gomez as his lone striker. Gomez scored three goals in the first two games.
When he changed his entire forward line for the quarterfinal against Greece on Friday, two of the newcomers scored in a 4-2 win.
Miroslav Klose has been Loew’s first-choice striker for years, but the Lazio forward came into the tournament seeking his form and fitness after a hamstring injury and back problems that allowed him little playing time since March.
Loew still heaped praise on Klose before the opening match, leading reporters to believe Klose would start. Instead, Loew went with Gomez and the Bayern Munich striker scored the winning goal against Portugal. “By now, you should know that I like to spring a surprise every now and then,” Loew said at the time.
While noting that Klose was making great progress in training, Loew again trusted Gomez and he scored both goals in a 2-1 win over the Netherlands.
In Friday’s quarterfinal, Gomez and Podolski went out, even though they had combined for four of Germany’s previous five goals. Out went Thomas Mueller, the top scorer of the 2010 World Cup with five goals.
Klose, Marco Reus and Andre Schuerrle came in — and Klose and Reus scored in a 4-2 win.
“I felt it was the day for a change, I wanted some fresh wind,” Loew said.
Germany has the youngest team at the tournament, although Klose is 34. The 27-year-old Podolski is already a veteran with 100 caps. Reus had 18 goals in the Bundesliga and led Borussia Moenchengladbach to a place in qualifying for the Champions League one season after it barely missed relegation. He is moving to champions Borussia Dortmund.
With their pace on the flanks, dribbling skills and ability to cut inside and score, both give a new dimension to the German game. Loew also predicted that his playmaker Mesut Oezil would “explode” in the later stages of the tournament.
Oezil was voted man of the match against Greece and was involved in virtually every dangerous German move, combining well with Klose, Reus and Schuerrle.
Germany’s confidence is such that its players have no false modesty about their next opposition, Italy or England in the semifinals.
“To win the title, a team will have to beat us,” Reus said.