Euro 2012: We are not the favourites, says Joachim Loew
Hague: German coach Joachim Loew feels that his team is not favoured to lift the European 2012 football championships and said defending Euro and World champions Spain would be the team to beat.
"I don`t see us as clear favourites," he said on the UEFA website Friday. "Spain have been the most consistent team over the last few years. There are also quite a few other teams capable of winning the competition. European Championship is always a devilishly hard tournament to win."
After the 2006 World Cup in Germany, assistant Loew was promoted to head coach of the German national football team. He continued the policy of his predecessor Jurgen Klinsmann by rejuvenating and developing a new and attractive playing Germany.
Under guidance of Loew the Germans finished runners-up in the previous European Championships after losing 0-1 to Spain in the final and at the 2010 World Cup ended third after yet again losing 0-1 to world champions Spain in the semi-finals.
"We have many young players, who have never played a big tournament. It`s a similar situation to 2010. An advantage is that our foundation is better than in 2008 or even 2010, with our philosophy now solidified over the past two years. We have a very balanced squad with a good age structure."
Mario Gotze, rising German star, returned from four months on the sidelines with a pair of injuries recently, but Loew expects a lot from the youngster.
"Of course, it motivates me tremendously when the coach expresses this. I will make every effort to repay the trust with performances," Gotze told German newspaper Bild.
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Tim Wiese (SV Werder Bremen), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96).
Defenders: Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich), Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Benedikt Howedes (FC Schalke 04), Mats Hummels (Borussia Dortmund), Marcel Schmelzer (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), Per Mertesacker (Arsenal).
Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Marco Reus (VfL Borussia Monchengladbach), Andre Schurrle (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich), Mario Gotze (Borussia Dortmund), Ilkay Gundogan (Borussia Dortmund).
Forwards: Miroslav Klose (Lazio), Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Lukas Podolski (FC Koln).