Germany World Cup PreviewPosted: Monday May 27, 2002 5:45 PM
How they line up
Germany's base formation is a 3-2-3-2. Oliver Kahn is the first-choice keeper, with Jens Lehmann his deputy. A first-choice three-man defense would comprise Marko Rehmer on the right -- provided he recovers from injury -- the injured Jens Nowotny as the central organizer and Thomas Linke on the left.
Other defensive candidates include the combative but injury-prone Jorg Heinrich, who can operate on either side of the back line; the right-sided Christian Worns; the versatile Sebastian Kehl, who can play anywhere in defense as well as in midfield; and Christoph Metzelder, the left-footer from Borussia Dortmund.
The two midfield holders are likely to be Didi Hamann and Carsten Ramelow. Once upon a time, Jens Jeremies would have been an automatic selection here, but after a long layoff with knee trouble he has struggled to rediscover his optimum form.
Of the trio of attacking midfielders, two are out-and-out wide men. In normal circumstances, Sebastian Deisler would be found on the right flank, but his injuries have allowed the busy Bernd Schneider to stake a compelling claim for the spot. On the left, Christian Ziege is in pole position, though Jorg Bohme and Marco Bode have not said their last word.
Equally able to create and get forward to score goals, Michael Ballack is the centrally positioned master of midfield ceremonies. There is no doubt about it: Ballack holds the key to Germany's chances in this World Cup.
In attack, manager Rudi Voeller will probably go with a little-and-large combination, using the presence of Oliver Bierhoff or Carsten Jancker in conjunction with the more lively qualities of Miroslav Klose or Oliver Neuville.
An alternative tactical set-up would be a 3-2-3-1-1, with the use of a lone striker, while 3-4-3 is not out of the question.
This more narrow system would feature two holding midfielders, with Ballack on the right and Ziege on the left. A natural striker would be supported by Neuville on the right and possibly Bode or Bohme on the left.
From World Soccer magazine.