THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

What are the expectations for the team?
The majority of fans expect the team to at least emulate the achievement of 2008 and progress to the final of the competition. The manner in which Germany qualified, winning all ten games in Group A, has also led many to suggest that they have the potential to knock Spain off the podium and bring back a first European Championship title since 1996.

Is the coach popular?
Jogi Low has proved to be a popular and successful choice as national team coach. He has integrated the latest wave of promising young German players into a team that plays attractive, attacking football. His handling of the "Ballack affair" brought him some negative media commentary, as the former captain's international career ended ignominiously in 2011. But the results since then speak for themselves. It is difficult to find anyone to criticise Low's tactics or team selections.

Have any players appeared in TV commercials or other advertising?

Nutella adverts featuring promising young German players have become something of a tradition over the years, but are yet to appear in 2012. Meanwhile, Lukas Podolski is advertising for the PSD Bank, Bastian Schweinsteiger is helping to sell Funny-Frisch crisps and Thomas Muller is starring in TV adverts for Muller yoghurts.

Which players are good interviewees and who are worst?
Podolski's media skills have improved markedly over the last few years but he will never be the most articulate in front of a camera. Philipp Lahm looks like he has been let off school for the afternoon but his international experience and professionalism mean he always provides considered responses to journalists' questions. Meanwhile, the German media will be hoping that Muller reprises his comic role from the 2010 World Cup and continues to crack jokes and say hello to his granny on live TV instead of offering tactical insight.

Do any players have unusual hobbies or business interests?
Back-up goalkeeper Tim Wiese has an expensive collection of model aeroplanes and helicopters. He has even taken flying lessons to improve his remote control pilot skills. Lahm has gone for the more traditional footballers' choice of buying a racehorse, but the rest of the squad stick to playing golf and going to the cinema.

Will there be any rehearsed goal celebrations?
The German team does not tend to go in for choreographed celebrations, but Miroslav Klose normally runs to the nearest camera and makes a gesture to signify a heart to his wife and twin sons.

What will the media coverage be like?

Every game at the tournament will be available free-to-air on the state channels ARD and ZDF. Gunther Netzer has retired from his commentary job but has been replaced to surprisingly good effect by Oliver Kahn. Regarded as obsessed with success and probably slightly unhinged during his playing career, the blond goalkeeping legend has warmed to the job of expert summariser and draws on his many years of experience at the top of the game.

Will there be many fans travelling to the finals?
All of Germany's group matches will be played in Ukraine. The German fans will travel to these games but they have been affected by visa issues, hotel availability and prices, like everyone else. Germany will be followed by large numbers of supporters crossing the border to any knockout games in Poland, most of whom will be intent on recreating the atmosphere enjoyed by visitors to the fan parks at the 2006 World Cup in Germany. John Van Laer

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