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Can Germany stop football coming home this summer?

Despite being the host nation, it seems strange to think that Germany are only the third favourites to win a record fourth European Championship in 2024.

After all, Die Mannschaft were eliminated at the group stage in the 2022 World Cup, while bitter rivals England knocked them out in the round of 16 at Euro 2020.

It’s also interesting to note that no single host nation has won the European Championship since France in 1984. This, coupled with the fact that Germany lost six times during a turbulent 2023 (a national record in a single calendar year), suggests that Julian Nagelsmann’s team face an uphill task at Euro 2024.

However, the side have seen a significant upturn in form of late, while a packed and expectant crowd will await them at the Allianz Arena for their tournament opener against Scotland on June 14th. But will the Germans once again defy the odds at a major tournament and deny favourites England their first major title in 58 years?

Is the German team in good form?

Despite not having to qualify for the Euros, Germany’s path to the finals has been tumultuous. 2023 was particularly challenging, with defeats against Belgium, Poland and Colombia compounded by the team’s openness and lack of defensive shape.

A harrowing 4-1 loss to Japan in Wolfsburg in September ultimately saw head coach Hansi Flick dismissed. Incredibly, he became the first manager to be sacked by Germany since the role was created in 1926, with former Bayern boss Nagelsmann stepping in to fill the void.

However, he also suffered early losses against Turkey and Ralf Rangnick’s energetic Austria side. The good news is that the latter defeat may have been the nadir for this German outfit, as they lost 2-0 in a match that saw forward Kai Havertz inexplicably start at left wing-back.

Nagelsmann has certainly gone back to basics since, reverting to a fluid 4-2-3-1 formation and eradicating much of the tactical confusion and lack of defensive structure that defined Flick’s reign. This adjustment has seen Havertz return to lead the line, with Germany having beaten France and the Netherlands of late while going unbeaten in four matches through 2024.

What do the statistics say?

For anyone betting on Euro 2024, Germany’s outright odds have certainly shortened as their form has improved. They now have a 12.4% chance of winning the tournament too, behind favourites England (19.9%) and 2018 world champions France (19.1%).

Spain is the next most likely winner, with Luis de la Fuente’s team afforded a 9.6% probability of winning Euro 2024. The Germans have also been given a 58.4% chance of reaching the quarter-finals, and a 36.5% probability of progressing to the last four.

Germany has a good chance of topping Group A (ahead of Scotland, Hungary, and Switzerland). However, this remains one of the more challenging groups, with Germany, Switzerland, and Hungary placed 16th, 19th and 26th in FIFA’s latest rankings. The Scots are ranked 39th at the time of writing.

Germany’s potential path to the final

If Germany do top Group A as expected, the round of 16 will see them face off against the runners-up from Group C. Opta’s statistics suggest that their most likely opponents will be Denmark or Serbia, with the match scheduled for June 29th at the Westfalenstadion.

Nagelsmann’s men will be the bookmakers’ favourites to win there, setting up a potential last eight clash against Spain in Stuttgart. Other possible opponents include Group B competitors Italy and Croatia, or the Austrian side that defeated Germany 2-0 last November.

When you consider implied probability values, either Portugal or the Netherlands could await in Munich in the semi-finals. Another victory here could pit Germany against either England or France in a mouth-watering final at Berlin’s Olympiastadion on July 14th, although the hosts would probably start this encounter as the underdogs.

Opta have revealed that Germany have a 22.4% probability of reaching the final. They’ve certainly been afforded a competitive advantage by the structure of the draw, which has put them in the opposing half to both England and France.

Who has Made the German Squad?

There’s no doubt that Germany boast one of the best and most talented Euro 2024 squads. This is despite the non-selection of Mats Hummels, Emre Can, Julian Brandt and Karim Adeyemi, each of whom started Borussia Dortmund’s recent Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

Germany’s defence depth and quality also looks much improved when compared to recent tournaments. The powerful Antonio Rudiger is likely to lead and organise the defensive unit, having excelled for Real Madrid in 2023/24.

Bayer Leverkusen’s Jonathan Tah also played a key role in his side’s historic Bundesliga title win last season, while the towering Nico Schlotterbeck marshalled Dortmund’s historic defensive efforts against PSG in the UCL.

Nagelsmann has also repaired Germany’s broken midfield dynamic, with the returning Toni Kroos offering experience and metronomic passing alongside Leverkusen’s tenacious Robert Andrich. This has allowed Joshua Kimmich to revert to full back, where his ability to invert affords Germany greater tactical flexibility when in possession.

Nagelsmann is also spoilt for choice in the attacking third. His reversion to a fluid 4-2-3-1 shape has certainly enabled him to get the best out of the precocious Jamal Musiala and playmaker Florian Wirtz, with İlkay Gündoğan operating primarily in the number 10 role. Kai Havertz will lead the line and offers exceptional movement, while striker Niclas Füllkrug provides a more physically imposing alternative as and when required.

So, how will Germany fare at Euro 2024?

Despite a turbulent start to his Germany tenure, Nagelsmann has created a well-balanced German outfit that’s in good form ahead of the Euro 2024 finals.

He has undoubtedly introduced a greater sense of purpose and tactical clarity, while establishing a system that optimises talents such as Gündoğan, Havertz, Wirtz and Kimmich.

Germany’s squad is also one of the strongest at the tournament, with depth and experience in every single position. A positive start for Die Mannschaft will considerably create momentum and home support too, so the stars appear to be aligning for a positive campaign in front of their own fans.

We certainly expect Germany to make the quarter-finals, while it would be far from surprising if they met France or England in the tournament’s show-piece final in Berlin. One thing is for sure: they have more than enough talent to win Euro 2024 and become the outright most successful nation in the competition’s history.

Read – The players at Euro 2024 with the most international caps

See more – Euro 2024: Five under-the-radar players to watch this summer

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