Quality in depth makes Germany favourites for the trophy, says ‘Rolls’ Reus

Any team hoping to get their hands on the Euro 2012 trophy will first have to get past Germany, who are now the number one title contenders, winger Marco Reus claimed yesterday.

A day after a 4-2 win over Greece sent them into the last four, Reus, nicknamed “Rolls Reus” for the quality of his game by the media, said Germany had been improving since the start of the tournament and were now the team to beat.

England play Italy in their quarter-final in Kiev this evening and victory would set up a mouth-watering last-four clash, a repeat of their last-16 match-up at the 2010 World Cup which Germany won 4-1.

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“Before the tournament we said we want to win the title,” said the 23-year-old Reus, who was on target against Greece. “We have kept improving and anyone wanting to get the title will have to get past us.

“England have also been improving. They are good and have an important player back with Wayne Rooney. But I think we are a better team, individually and as a unit.”

Proof of that point was the fact that coach Joachim Löw restructured his team’s frontline with three changes against the Greeks, but the three-time European champions looked to have lost none of their firepower.

“We know exactly how strong we are,” said fellow winger Andre Schurrle, another young player who slipped into the team seamlessly against Greece.

“The coach wanted some changes and you could see that there was no compromise in the quality of our performance. It is a huge advantage to have so many outstanding players.”

Germany have stretched their winning streak to 15 competitive games, and with the enthusiasm of the younger generation there is little to suggest they cannot extend it on Thursday in Warsaw.

“We can say that there is another generation, younger players coming forward,” said Schurrle. “Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm, who have been around longer are a bit of an older generation,” said Schurrle. “So it is some fresh air coming in and that mix [of young and old] is right.”

Germany’s strength in depth has been key at Euro 2012, with coach Löw able to make changes to his side yesterday and present arguably the most effective performance of the tournament so far.

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Reus and Schurrle could be back on the bench again in the semi-final, but both are confident Löw will find the right blend for their next opponents.

“The coach has faith in all of us to perform and that could be the ace in our pack,” Schurrle said. “He is a very good coach and prepares us very well for games. He has a precise plan and philosophy, is very diligent and leaves nothing to chance.”

German expectations are now to go one better than at Euro 2008 and get their hands on some silverware for the first time since 1996.

“We have reinforced our strengths and potential, won all our games, and deservedly so,” 21-year-old Schurrle added.

“We are very self-confident and aim to get into the final and win it, and I think we have justified our favourites’ billing.”

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