Posted on: 05 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

The brains and brawn of Germany will make them a firm favourite with pundits and punters alike.

Football Profile

Coach: Joachim Low (48) Took over from Jurgen Klinnsman after a successful campaign at World Cup 2006, making immediate changes and giving debuts to no less than 16 players.

Away From The Game

Capital: Berlin

Population: 82.2m

Currency: Euro

Language(s): German

Famous Export: Ludwig van Beethoven (music composer), Albert Einstein (physics), Gabriel Fahrenheit (physics), Martina Hingis (tennis champion), Boris Becker (Wimbledon tennis champion), Claudia Schiffer (model), Michael Schumacher (motor racing).

National Food: Traditional German dishes include sauerkraut (pickled cabbage), frankfurters, bratwurst (sausage), Wiener Schnitzel (veal cutlet) and dumplings.

National Drink: Beer/ schnapps.

National Animal: Black Eagle

Star: Michael Ballack (31), Chelsea (Eng) midfielder whose found form this season in the Premiership. Uncompromising, creative and pops up with crucial goals. Two-footed and powerful in the air.

Hidden Gem: David Odonkor (24), Real Betis (Spa) the speedy winger, brought in as a wild card at the last World Cup, guarantees an impact from the bench.

How They Qualified: Group D runner-up behind the Czech Republic and ahead of Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Wales, Cyprus and San Marino.

Previous Best: Winners 1972, 1980, 1996

FIFA Ranking: 5

Key Fact: Since their penalty shootout loss to Czechoslovakia in Euro 76, Germany have not lost a penalty shootout in a major international tournament. In fact, the last penalty missed by a German player dates back to the semi-finals of the 1982 World Cup when French goalkeeper Jean-Luc Ettori saved Uli Stielike’s shot.

Joachim LowOverview: After losing out to winners Italy at the semi-finals at the last World Cup, players and fans alike turned their attentions to a triumphant Euro 2008. After securing qualification those hopes have not faded and the squad remains a picture of health. A country so used to victory in international football, Germany have what it takes to win.

Odds: 4/1

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