The German football team will begin their quest for a fourth European Championship tonight at 20:45 in L'viv. No other European side has won more than two. They last won any significant hardware in 1996, which for them equates to an unacceptable drought. They are always one of the best tournament teams and they seem to thrive under pressure. It remains to be seen if there is any residual effect from FC Bayern's gut-wrenching shock defeat at the hands (and feet) of London side Chelsea.
Joachim Löw's charges are one of the favourites for myriad of reasons. Many on the team are battle tested, since winning trophies together at the U-18 and U-21 level a few years ago, and they appear to have a side with a dangerous mix of young and hungry combined with veteran leadership. Another factor in their favour is despite the history between Germany and Ukraine, the people on the streets of Ukraine hold Germany in high esteem, and very often they have only positive things to say about it. They may have the most support from the host countries in the group. And what a group it is. Though Germany has been placed in this tournament's "Group of Death" along with the Dutch, Danes and Portuguese, many insiders believe that Germany will not only win the group, they will do it with their typical precision and in convincing fashion. The last six to eight years were used well to develop a side for the next two tournaments, this European and the next World Championship in 2014, in Brazil. The last three tournaments were a bit of a surprise as many believed that their best window of opportunity lay now, and that Germany had played over their heads in the recent past reaching the semi-finals and finals.
This writer feels that many things must come together to win a tournament like this, and they will for Germany. They will hoist the Champion's trophy in Kyiv, on July 1st.