Greece is the Word.

At the end of the World Cup in South Africa in 2010, Germany beat Uruguay 3-2 to clinch third place. Since then, they have played a further thirteen competitive matches, winning them all. Ten from ten in qualifying for the Euros, and three from three in the recent group phase.

Tomorrow in the historic Baltic city of Gdańsk – formerly known as Danzig – the Nationalmannschaft will be chasing an unprecedented fifteenth successive competitive victory,when they take on the tournament’s surprise package and masters of 1980s-era Teutonic Teutonic-style defence – Greece.

Yes, that’s right. Greece. The most unlikely of European Champions back in 2004, and a team earmarked by many as certain candidates for first-phase elimination this time around. Drawn alongside the Czech Republic, a highly-rated Russia and hosts Poland, nobody gave Fernando Santos’ side much of a chance.

Yet here they are.

After a disastrous start in their opening match against Poland that saw them both a goal and a man down before half-time, the Greeks would somehow claw themselves back into the contest – and would even have a chance to win it as they fluffed a late penalty opportunity. Having fallen two goals down to the Czechs in their second game another second-half comeback would not be good enough to avoid defeat, and with a final game against the impressive Russians to come, even the most fervent Greek supporters would have been preparing to welcome the team back home.

But then came the miracle. Russia had looked dominant in thrashing the Czechs 4-1 and having the better of a 1-1 draw with Poland – and only needed a draw to go through. Unfortunately for all the pundits however, the obdurate Greeks had decided to tear up the script: a goal just before half-time did enough to shock the Russians into looking like toothless shadows of the side that had steam-rollered the Czechs, and that was that.

Facts and Stats

The statistics are heavily in favour of Germany coming into this match. In eight previous meetings between the two sides the Nationalmannschaft have never been defeated against this opposition, winning five and drawing the other three.

With the exception of one friendly match played in 1970, all of these eight matches have been competitive. The last encounter between the two sides took place in a World Cup qualifying match in March 2001, when Rudi Völler’s side carved out a 4-2 victory in the Greek capital.

Despite having played seven competitive internationals the two countries have only ever met once in final tournament competition – a goalless draw in the group stage of Euro 1980, which Germany went on to win.

Jogi’s Eleven

With Jérôme Boateng available for selection after serving out his one-match suspension, we should expect to see the same German eleven that started against both Portugal and the Netherlands with Lars Bender returning to the bench. While it make sense to keep things consistent, there are merits to the comments made by some outside experts – among them former international and respected coach Felix Magath – who have suggested that the team be tweaked slightly to deal with the highly defensive approach Greece are likely to adopt. Mario Götze or Marco Reus in, Miroslav Klose for Mario Gómez – yes, those old chestnuts.

It is highly likely that the German attack will be faced with a solid blue wall, with Greece playing the same way as they did against Russia. Should Germany strike early, they could very easy run away with the game; if however the blue bastion holds firm, there could be some frustrating moments for Joachim Löw as he may be forced to tweak his tactics mid-stream. Should the Greeks actually nose in front, might we see Löw’s tactics turn to blancmange? One would hope this will not be the case, but then nobody expected the Russians to turn into eleven gibbering wrecks.

The team (expected):

Neuer – Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm (c) – Khedira, Schweinsteiger – Müller, Özil, Podolski – Gómez

So there we have it. A Germany v Greece match preview, and not one reference to politics, European financial collapses or bailouts.

Greece is the Word.
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9 thoughts on “Greece is the Word.

  • June 23, 2012 at 22:27

    Germany also now apparently has the world record (15) for consecutive competitive wins.

    • June 23, 2012 at 23:20

      Yes, I believe that’s the case. A little trivia stemming from this – the first match in this spell was in the third place playoff against Uruguay in WC2010, with the latest being yesterday’s win… Sami Khedira scored in both.

  • June 23, 2012 at 12:37

    Nice statto finds Samer! I was going to mention the Klose third goal and 4-2 win against Greece, but will now add the Lahm snippet too.

    Kenan, either you have the same mind connection to Jogi Löw as Felix Magath or you really are… Felix Magath!

    Thanks for the comments!

  • June 23, 2012 at 08:43

    The last time Lahm scored in a tournament we also won 4-2 against CostaRica in 2006.
    The last time we faced Greece, we also won 4-2 in 2001. Klose also scored the third goal, the other scorers were Rehmer, Ballack, and Bode.
    If we win the semifinal we will reach the Final for the 7th time in 12 appearances at the Euros. Amazing.
    We have reached the semi final of a mojor tournamet for the 5th time in the last six tournaments. WOW!

    • June 24, 2012 at 22:11

      small corrention here Samer. Lahm scored the winning goal against Turkey in the 3-2 win in Euro 2008.

  • June 22, 2012 at 08:55

    I strongly agree with Magath. Low should do some changes that would be both surprising and effetive against the Greeks. I think he should play with two stikers and one holding midfielder. He can do that with the same players. Gomez and Podolski as strikers, Ozil on the left and Muller on the right. Kedira and Schweini would handle the defensive midfield/playmaking activities. Also Lahm to be switched with Boateng as Boateng can play on the left of the defence and Lahm is much more effective on the right.

  • June 22, 2012 at 08:25

    While I’m 100% sure that Low will not make any changes, I beleive that this is going to be the price we pay against Greece. These guys study each player very well, and they prepare for that.

    Low can surprise Greece and turn to being unpredictable by making few changes from the start. Klose to replace Gomez (certainly he won’t do it), Schurrle to replace Poldi (a great idea) and Reus to start instead of Muller.

    Such chnages will put the Greek off and will not know what to expect. It is known that Greece will start defending and it is no secret they want to take this into penalties or wait to score from a set piece or a lucky goal. This is why we have to overwhelm them with attack and keep them very busy defending.

    Finally, may the force be with them.

    • June 22, 2012 at 19:34

      OMG. This is exactly what Low did, as if he read my post. wow. Now I hope they win, otherwise my advice will be blamed.

      • June 22, 2012 at 22:22

        Awesome. Two of the three players I suggested to bring off the bench scored.

        Good game, but I have concerns. We conceeded two goals out of very few chances.


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