Denmark 1 Germany 2: Lessons learned as Low’s side sink Danes

What did we learn from Germany's victory over Denmark, which ensured Joachim Low's side topped Group B at Euro 2012?

Denmark
1
Germany
2

Disappointing Gomez

With an ageing Miroslav Klose in their ranks, Germany are desperately seeking a replacement that is capable of filling the boots of the Lazio striker. The hallmark of their successful sides has always been a consistent goal scorer, with the likes of Gerd Muller, Rudi Voller and Oliver Bierhoff leading the line in past teams. Bayern Munich’s Mario Gomez has been in good form at Euro 2012, netting a trio of goals in just two matches – but he was nowhere near his best in this game. When the chances did come for the 26-year-old, he failed to make the most of them and looked a shadow of the striker that impressed against Portugal and Holland.

Threatening Bendtner

When you think of Nicklas Bendtner, the word ‘misfiring’ is normally the one that comes to mind. But the Arsenal striker played a major role in keeping Denmark’s qualification hopes alive, after setting up Michael Krohn-Dehli for the equaliser against Germany. While the pressure to score goals in the English top-flight often seems too much, the 24-year-old has shown that he can be a danger on the international stage. After his double against Portugal in Lyiv, the Arsenal striker took his national team tally to 20, in just 50 appearances. That means he has scored in 40 per cent of his games for Denmark, in contrast to netting in just 22.2 per cent of his games for Arsene Wenger’s men (22 goals in 99 matches).

Misfiring Muller

There were high expectations about what Thomas Muller could produce in this tournament after he impressed at the 2010 World Cup. After netting five goals in South Africa, including a double against England, the Bayern Munich winger was expected to impress in Poland and Ukraine, too. But he has looked completely off-colour to date and is perhaps still nursing a hangover from the Champions League final defeat by Chelsea. His performance against Denmark epitomised the staggering difference from his confident performances two years ago. Inside the first five minutes, the 22-year-old wasted two opportunities to open the scoring but he mis-kicked both with his weaker left foot. A moment of joy did come his way in the 18th minute when he set up the opening goal of the game for Germany, after Lukas Podolski converted his dangerous cross, but these instances were few and far between.

Potent Podolski

Playing in a three-pronged attack, Podolski is always a threat for opposition defenders – and he illustrated that on a landmark night in his career. Making his 100th national team appearance, the Arsenal-bound striker became the seventh youngest player in history to achieve the milestone and the youngest ever representing a European side. He marked the occasion in style after 18 minutes in Lviv with the opening goal of the game. After Muller’s cross was mis-kicked by Gomez, Podolski calmly finished past Stephan Andersen. The goal took the 27-year-old’s international tally to 44, and means that he has now netted four goals at European championships. While it may be hard for Wenger to choose between Podolski and Robin van Persie in his starting line-up, his deployment in a wing role for Joachim Low’s side shows that he is more than capable of being effective in this position.

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