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Germany past v present

Published: Tuesday 26 June 2012, 13.30CET
Team reporter Steffen Potter compares Joachim Löw's side with what he considers the all-time Germany XI, position by position. Do you agree with his choices? Have your say.
by Steffen Potter
from Gdansk
Published: Tuesday 26 June 2012, 13.30CET

Germany past v present

Team reporter Steffen Potter compares Joachim Löw's side with what he considers the all-time Germany XI, position by position. Do you agree with his choices? Have your say.
©Getty Images

Germany have impressed this month

No matter what the outcome of Thursday's semi-final against Italy, I believe this Germany team are shaping up to become one of the finest for generations. This got me thinking – how would this side compare with a selection of Germany's best? As a fair test, I limited it to players I have seen represent the national team with my own eyes, so no Franz Beckenbauer or Gerd Müller, for example. Below is my opinion, not UEFA's, but what is yours? Let me know your thoughts using the box at the bottom of the page.

Goalkeeper: Manuel Neuer v Oliver Kahn – 0-1
Neuer is a great keeper and he is better than Kahn with the ball at his feet. However, Kahn was the undoubted best in the world a decade ago.

Left-back: Philipp Lahm v Andreas Brehme – 0-2
This is a tough call. Lahm is a complete player and one of the most recognised full-backs in the world. Yet so was Brehme, a forward-thinking defender ahead of his time, strong with both feet. Brehme gets the nod for his right-footed strike against the Netherlands in the 1990 FIFA World Cup and for converting the decisive penalty in the Rome final.

Centre-back: Holger Badstuber v Jürgen Kohler – 1-2
Kohler was less a centre-back like Badstuber is today and more an old-fashioned man-marker. Kohler was rated as one of the best defenders of his generation, but Badstuber continues to improve and offers perhaps the greater all-round package.

©Getty Images

Matthias Sammer was inspired at EURO '96

Centre-back: Mats Hummels v Matthias Sammer – 1-3
I know Sammer was a libero for Germany yet I would have liked him as centre-back in my all-time XI in order to help build the play from the back. Hummels, a revelation at this tournament, does much the same job, though Sammer's outstanding desire – which helped Germany to EURO '96 glory – takes the point here.

Right-back: Jérôme Boateng v Stefan Reuter – 1-4
This is considered one of the most competitive positions in the current Germany squad and I had problems selecting one from the past. Reuter's pace is what stands out but, ideally, I want a Lahm clone here.

Holding midfielder: Bastian Schweinsteiger v Lothar Matthäus – 1-5
I am talking pre-libero Matthäus, so please think of the dynamic version of 1990. I remember an Italian paper writing that he "looked like he had a body made of steel" – add a powerful shot with either foot into the mix and Matthäus, one of Germany's foremost midfielders, wins.

Holding midfielder: Sami Khedira v Stefan Effenberg – 1-6
Effenberg's career with the Nationalmannschaft was possibly not as successful as it might have been, yet to pair him alongside Matthäus in midfield would have been sensational.

©Getty Images

Lukas Podolski scored on his 100th cap

Left midfielder: Lukas Podolski v Thomas Hässler – 2-6
Hässler was a hero of the 1990s and almost universally admired for his skill and dribbling ability. Podolski's slot in the current Germany side, according to some, is under threat, although he gets my vote here thanks to his superior scoring record (44 in 100 games, against Hässler's 11 in 101) and added value in helping out in defence.

Attacking midfielder: Mesut Özil v Uwe Bein – 3-6
If Bein looks a surprise pick, he was one of the deadliest passers I have witnessed and his talent for carving open defences was second to none. However, Özil played a huge part in helping Real Madrid CF win the Liga title last season at the expense of an FC Barcelona team considered by some the best club side ever.

Right midfielder: Thomas Müller v Andreas Möller – 3-7
England fans can skip this paragraph. There have been suggestions Möller never really lived up to his potential with Germany, but EURO '96 was a different story. Twenty-nine goals from 85 caps is also a decent return and his technique, pace and dribbling skills outshine Müller's (Marco Reus could be a competitor in a few years, though). The icing on the cake is the way he converted his penalty against England in THAT semi-final despite knowing he was suspended for the showpiece.

Striker: Miroslav Klose v Jürgen Klinsmann – 4-7
Mario Gomez has started three UEFA EURO 2012 matches to Klose's one, yet Klose's incredible quantity of goals at major tournaments makes him the most lethal German forward of my lifetime – even better than Klinsmann, who shone in '96. I will go for Klose, as I believe Joachim Löw will against Italy.

Final score: Germany 2012 4-7 My Germany legends

Who did I miss out? Where do you disagree? Let me know below.

Last updated: 28/06/12 14.45CET

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