It takes a lot to ruffle the feathers of the normally unflappable Germans in the build-up to a major tournament, but an injury to Michael Ballack, their captain, talisman and midfield general, and one to his understudy Christian Traesch left their nation in something of a tailspin. It leaves them with just two out-and-out central midfielders in their squad, something the strong, imposing squads of Australia, Ghana and, perhaps most of all, Serbia may be quick to seize upon.
But Germany, more than anyone, are the masters of getting it right on the night. Their youthful 23-man squad is littered with defenders who are as comfortable at full-back as they are in the centre, forward-thinking players who can play upfront or across the midfield, and they are reaping the benefits of their under-21 team's success at last year's European Championships. Add to that the fact the front pairing of Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose have scored over 80 times in internationals, and anyone taking Germany lightly might need to rethink.
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