It has been 16 agonizing years since Germany last held high their championship trophy in a European Cup competition or World Cup, but they have been so close. Since that 1996 European Championship victory, they have finished second or third once at Euro, and twice at the World Cup.
With many expecting a Spain and Germany final in less than a week, can Germany knock off Spain, who is going for their third consecutive championship (Euro 2008, World Cup 2010)?
After heart-breaking losses to Italy (World Cup 2006) and Spain (Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010), Germany is looking to claim that elusive title.
Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski both have ove 100 caps for their country, while Bastian Schweinsteiger has 94 and captain Phillip Lahm has 90. Yet, none have a trophy to show for one of the best periods of football in the history of Die Mannschaft.
To hoist that trophy, the Germans will have to overcome their personal demons. Italy holds a 14-7-9 advantage over Germany in their history. Spain has won the last two matches in major tournaments against Germany, but the Germans hold an 8-7-6 advantage.
In a year that has seen favorites come and go, we are left with a powerhouse group in the final four. Spain, clearly, is a favorite. Portugal is finally playing like everyone knew they could but had never showed, especially Cristiano Ronaldo. Germany continues to run over and around opponents, while Italy is still figuring itself out.
That being said, this could be Germany’s year. Manager Joachim Löw made a bold move by inserting André Schürrle, Klose, and Marco Reus into the starting lineup. It worked out beautifully, as the Germans became more of the free-flowing, creative team that we saw at the World Cup in South Africa.
With so many great players that have hardly seen the pitch in this tournament, Germany could propel into a golden age in their history of football with a European Championship.
Winning the Euro 2012 championship would put an exclamation point on the young yet exuberant careers of Schweinsteiger, Lahm, and Podolski.