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Germany Team Of The Decade 2000-2010
As we approach 2010, s Mathew Burt selects his German best XI from the past decade...
The German national team remains one of the top nations in world football and are always there or thereabouts when it comes to the final stages of a World Cup or a European Championship.
Efficiency, organisation, call it what you will, but Germany always seem to cruise through the qualifying tournaments with consummate ease and then enter tournament mode when it comes to the Finals stage.
The Germans started the decade poorly with a dismal performance at Euro 2000 going out at the first round stage, but then rallied to finish as runners-up to Brazil at the 2002 World Cup.
Euro 2004 Portugal was a big disappointment with another first round exit and then they finished third in the 2006 World Cup on home soil. Their latest tournament outing saw them finish second to Spain at Euro 2008 held in neighbouring Austria/Switzerland.
Although he lost out to Jens Lehmann for the number one spot in the Germany team for the 2006 World Cup on home soil, I still rate Oliver Kahn as the best goalkeeper during the decade in question. The Bayern legend amassed 86 caps for his country and was the outstanding performer at the 2002 World Cup in Japan/ South Korea. He won the FIFA World Cup Golden Ball, the Lev Yashin Award, and was voted into the All-Star team on the back of his World Cup displays.
The Hertha Berlin defender is usually deployed at right-back for the Nationalelf but is versatile enough to be able to play at centre-back or even in a more advanced midfield role. He made his debut in 2002 and has been a permanent fixture in the side ever since. He played extremely well at the World Cup in 2006 and was also involved when Germany finished third in both the Confederations Cup in 2005 and Euro 2008.
Now retired, the former Bayer Leverkusen centre-back was a key figure in Germanys defence for nearly ten years. He was part of the German squad at both Euro 2000 and Euro 2004, making five appearances in total. In 2006, he was called up for the German World Cup squad after two years of absence from international football. At the age of 32, Juergen Klinsmann wanted his experience, but he made just one appearance at the tournament, playing all 90 minutes in the third-place play-off against Portugal.
The six foot six inch centre back was handed his debut by Juergen Klinsmann in 2004 at the age of just 19 making him one of Germanys youngest ever debutants. However, he quickly established himself as a regular and remains the first choice centre-back for his country. He played at both the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008. His performance at the World Cup earned him a €5 million move to Werder Bremen from Hannover.
The 25-year-old Lahm is considered one of the best left-backs in the world right now. Handed his debut by Rudi Voeller just a mere six months after making his Bundesliga and he was voted Man of the Match for his display against Croatia. He played at Euro 2004 and scored the opening goal for Germany at the 2006 World Cup. He was the only German to play every minute of every game at the finals and was voted into the All Star Team. He then went on to play at Euro 2008 and scored the winning goal for Germany in their semi-final with Turkey.
The White Brazilian as he was known represented his country with great aplomb for nearly ten years collecting 81 caps along the way. He made his debut during the 1999 Confederations Cup tournament and between 2002 and 2006 he was a permanent fixture in the German midfield playing in two World Cup tournaments (2002 and 2006) as well as Euro 2004. Injury alone ruled him out of Euro 2008.
All-action Frings has been putting in the crunching tackles acting as the midfield enforcer for Germany since 2001 when he made his international debut against France. He will probably be best remembered though for the suspension he received for his role in the 2006 World Cup brawl with Argentina. His punch on Julio Cruz led to a ban, which ruled him out of Germanys crunch semi-final with Italy.
The current German captain has also been their best performer over the past decade. He is the one true world-class player from the last ten years and it is he Germany turn to to inspire them. He made his debut in 1999 and has played in all of Germanys major finals appearances. A booking received in the 2002 World Cup semi-final for a tactical foul cruelly ruled him out of the final. He did however captain Germany throughout the 2006 World Cup on home soil. Since June 2005, Germany have not lost a game in which Ballack scores.
Bastian Schweinsteiger (2004-present)
Schweini seems to have been around the German international set-up for ages. He made his debut in 2004 and made it into the Euro 2004 squad. He earned lots of praise in a tournament that saw Germany fail to qualify from their group. At the age of 22, he had already played 41 matches for the German national team, a record for any German player at the time. His sending off against Croatia at Euro 2008 was a low-point in his career, but Schweinsteiger will surely mature even more and be a fixture in the German midfield for years to come.
Podolski is somewhat of an enigma - decidedly average for his club, but seemingly unstoppable at international level. He became the first second-division player since 1975 to break into the national team when Rudi Voeller handed him his debut in June 2004 against Hungary. He was voted the Best Young Player at the 2006 World Cup finals on the back of his three goals for Germany. He won the Silver Boot at Euro 2008 with three goals and was also voted into the Team of the Tournament. He has scored 33 times in 64 appearances for Germany. At the age of 24, he is already his Germanys ninth top scorer of all-time.
Like Podolski, Miroslav Klose is another Polish-born player, who has made his international name with Germany. Klose scored on his debut in 2001 as a substitute against Albania and has been a reliable source of goals ever since for the Nationalelf. He has 44 goals in 88 games meaning he scores a goal for Germany every two games, which at international level is some achievement. Five goals at the 2002 World Cup gave him a joint share of the Silver Shoe with Brazilian Rivaldo, and he went one better in 2006 when his five goals earned him the Golden Shoe. He remains Germanys first-choice striker.
Friedrich - Nowotny Mertesacker - Lahm
Schneider Frings Ballack- Schweinsteiger
Do you agree with those who made it into the Germany Team of the Decade 2000-2010? What would be your XI?wants to know what YOU think...
Its failure for Germany again - and dont mention the VAR