- Title: VARIOUS: FOOTBALL/SOCCER - Germany World Cup preview
- Date: 17th May 2010
- Summary: MUNICH, GERMANY (MARCH 02, 2010) (REUTERS) NEUER TRAINING WITH GERMAN SOCCER TEAM
- Embargoed: 1st June 2010 15:46
- Topics: Sport
- Reuters ID: LVACJX9YZ7N91D4KV2BTKEBQTEWD
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: Coach Joachim Loew's first World Cup in charge could also be his last, after contract extension talks collapsed earlier this year and were postponed until after the tournament.
Having taken over from Juergen Klinsmann after the 2008 World Cup in Germany, Loew has run the team with a steady hand, steering them to the Euro 2008 final. But he has failed to establish Germany as one of the favourites for the World Cup and a 1-0 defeat in Munich to Argentina in a friendly match last March will not have increased the squad's confidence.
While captain Michael Ballack will be in the spotlight in search of his first major title, striker Lukas Podolski could prove to be a match-winner. With a stunning scoring record for the national team, and after a subdued season at Cologne when he scored just two goals, Podolski is desperate to reveal his best form on the big stage.
Factbox: Colours: White shirts, black shorts and white socks.
Nickname: Nationalmannschaft Previous World Cup appearances: 1934, 1938, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006 Best World Cup performance: Winners - 1954, 1974, 1990 Losing finalists - 1966, 1982, 1986, 2002 Coach: Joachim Loew Most capped player: Lothar Matthaeus 150 Top goalscorer: Gerd Mueller 68 Coach: Joachim Loew Loew took over after the 2006 World Cup, succeeding Juergen Klinsmann. He steered his team to the Euro 2008 final where they lost to Spain and is equally confident of a good run in his first World Cup in charge.
Key players: Michael Ballack (Chelsea). Age: 33. Midfielder. Born 26.9.1976.
This is likely to be the last major tournament for the German captain who is desperate for World Cup success after collecting a runners-up medal in 2002. The midfielder also finished on the losing side at Euro 2008. Ballack has mended ties with Loew after a public spat following Euro 2008.
Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich). Age: 24. Striker. Born 10.7.1985.
Became the Bundesliga's most expensive transfer when he joined Bayern in the close season for a reported 35 million euros. Yet to replicate his club goal-scoring form for Germany. Deadly in the air and inside the box.
Lukas Podolski (Cologne). Striker. Born 4.6.1985.
A goal-scoring machine for Germany, having racked up 37 goals in 69 internationals. The quick left-footer is expected to be Loew's first choice in attack in South Africa.
Squad: Goalkeepers: Hans-Joerg Butt (Bayern Munich), Manuel Neuer (Schalke 04), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen) Defenders: Dennis Aogo (Hamburg SV), Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich), Andreas Beck (Hoffenheim), Jerome Boateng (Hamburg SV) Arne Friedrich (Hertha BSC), Marcell Jansen (Hamburg SV), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Werder Bremen), Serdar Tasci (VfB Stuttgart), Heiko Westermann (Schalke 04) Midfielders: Michael Ballack (Chelsea), Sami Khedira (VfB Stuttgart), Toni Kroos (Bayer Leverkusen), Marko Marin (Werder Bremen) Mesut Ozil (Werder Bremen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Christian Traesch (VfB Stuttgart), Piotr Trochowski (Hamburg SV) Forwards: Cacau (VfB Stuttgart) Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Stefan Kiesling (Bayer Leverkusen) Miroslav Klose (Bayern Munich), Thomas Mller (Bayern Munich), Lukas Podolski (Cologne)
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