Host and three-times World champion, Germany has yet to bag a victory as a reunited nation. The team that has not been performing well for some time now will depend upon striker Michael Ballack and new goalkeeper Jens Lehmann.india Updated: May 25, 2006 19:17 IST
|FIFA world ranking||19|
|Group A||Germany, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Poland|
|Previous appearances||15 times. Winners: 1954, 1974, 1990. Runners-up: 1966, 1982, 1986, 2002|
|Key player||Michael Ballack|
Germany have never won the World Cup ever since the fall of Berlin Wall. A united Germany have failed to do in 1994, 1998 and 2002 what West Germany did in 1954, 1974 and 1990.
The three-times World champions are the hosts in 2006. And this is the biggest reason why they should win as 'Germany'.
They were the surprise finalists in 2002, a tournament in which their talismanic goalkeeper Oliver Kahn was the named the best player despite Ronaldo's eight goals.
Coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the hero of their 1990 World Cup winning team, has dropped Kahn.
And the task to defend their goal will be on Jens Lehmann, who has already proved his coach right by saving a last-minute penalty from Joan Roman Riquelme in the Champions League semifinal for Arsenal against Villarreal.
Germany's form hasn't been great. Losing 1-4 to Italy in a friendly didn't help matters either.
Yet, they are one of the favourites. After all, there will be the home fans to cheer them up and a player as accomplished as Michael Ballack to create the moves and score the stunning goals.
Goalkeepers: Jens Lehmann, Oliver Kahn, Timo Hildebrand
Defenders: Arne Friedrich, Robert Huth, Marcell Jansen, Philipp Lahm, Per Mertesacker, Christoph Metzelder, Jens Nowotny
Midfielders: Michael Ballack, Tim Borowski, Torsten Frings, Sebastian Kehl, Bernd Schneider, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Hitzlsperger, David Odonkor
Forwards: Gerald Asamoah, Miroslav Klose, Oliver Neuville, Lukas Podolski, Mike Hanke.