Football News

Germany Route to the Euro 2024 Final: Potential Opponents For Die Mannschaft at Euro 2024

By Andy Watson

Published: 16:17, 10 May 2024

As Euro 2024 approaches we take a look at who Die Mannschaft might face on their route to the European Championships final.

Germany Route To The Euro 2024 Final: Potential Path

The hosts will be eager to do well on home soil, but enter the tournament on something of a low ebb given their high-achieving past. They are ranked #16 in the FIFA men’s rankings, their lowest ranking since 2004. That year they went out at the group stages in Portugal, it would be something of a national crisis if this were repeated on home soil.

As hosts, Germany didn’t have to qualify for the tournament, so their build-up has been a series of friendlies. The most recent friendly results are listed below:

Germany’s Build-Up To Euro 2024
Date Score Ground
26/03/24 2-1 vs Netherlands (H)
23/03/23 2-0 vs France (A)
21/11/23 0-2 vs Austria (A)
18/11/23 2-3 vs Turkey (H)
17/10/23 2-2 vs Mexico (A)
14/10/23 3-1 vs USA (A)

Germany had also previously lost three friendlies in a row to Poland, Colombia, and Japan, which prompted the removal of Hansi Flick, and, after Julian Nagelsmann was dispensed with by Bayern Munich, he was approached to take the job until the European Championships.

Germany’s potential route to Euro 2024 final

Germany’s Group A fixtures

vs Scotland (14 June, 8pm BST) – Germany will kick off the tournament against Scotland on the opening night of Euro 2024. Matches between Germany and Scotland have been few and far between in recent years, with just two encounters in the last decade. Germany have won four of the last six meetings between the two, most recently a 3-2 classic at Hampden Park. Scotland have won just won of the last 13 battles between the two.

vs Hungary (19 June, 5pm BST) – Hungary are a vastly improved nation over the last decade, from a ranking as low as 84 in 2006, Hungary are back in and around the top 25. This has been a tricky fixture for Germany in recent years, with three games without a win against their Hungarian counterparts. Prior to those matches, it doesn’t make much better reading for Germany. Just three wins in 12 matches against Hungary makes this one of the tougher battles Germany could’ve been handed.

vs Switzerland (23 June, 8pm BST) – This is a really tough end to the group stage and as a result Germany will be hoping to come into this match already qualified, and, even better, already confirmed as group winners, as the route does make a difference to the chances of tournament victory from Group A. Another tie that has presented Germany with a problem over recent years. Switzerland have now gone three games unbeaten against Germany, including an incredible 5-3 victory in 2012. Indeed, this game seems to bring the goals, with 26 goals across their last six encounters.

If Germany finish top of group A

If Germany win Group A, which they are favourites to do, then they play in the opening night of round of 16 fixtures against the runners-up of Group C. This group consists of England, Denmark, Serbia, and Slovenia. Markets suggest that Denmark are the most likely nation to play in this scenario, but there is also the chance of England finishing as runners up and meeting Germany in this round. Either Denmark or England would be a tricky test at this stage, but Denmark would be preferred by the Germans, which would be a local derby.

Given Germany then go on to qualify for the quarter-finals, they would meet the winner of the match between the winner of Group B or one of the third-placed finishers. The likelihood then is stacked in the favour of the Group B winners, who could be Spain, Italy, or Croatia.

A semi-final, in terms of seeding and betting, would then most likely see Germany play Portugal, if the Iberians won their Group F, and then defeated a third placed team and a runner-up to get to the semi-finals.

The final, then, could be France or England, if either nation won their group and then saw off the remaining opposition.

If Germany finish runner-up in group A

There is a good chance that the Germans could finish second in Group A. This would provide them with a round of 16 match against the runners-up in Group B. This looks to be a fairly tricky tie regardless, with Spain, Italy, and Croatia in that group.

The quarter-final would most likely be against the winners of Group C, which is most likely to be England, or a 3rd-placed team from the group stages.

Winning through that quarter-final would grant a semi-final against the winners of a match between, most likely, the winners of Groups D and E. The bookmakers would suggest that would be France vs Belgium.

In this route, a final would most likely be Portugal or the winners of Group B, Spain, Italy or Croatia. There is also the opportunity of a rematch of whoever finished above Germany in Group A.

A runners-up route for Germany then could be Spain, England, France, and Portugal. A tough ask.

If Germany finish third in Group A

With the narrowing down of 24 nations into 16 for the knockout rounds means that a number of third placed teams could make it.

If that was Germany’s fate then the 3rd placed team from Group A could be drawn against the winner of Group B (odds suggest Spain), Group F (Portugal), or Group E (France).

There are then a multitude of possibilities from this point onwards, depending on which round of 16 match Germany won to progress to the quarter-finals.

It is definitely a route best avoided, as the certainty of playing a group winner, even if it isn’t the favourite to do so, would mean that Germany would have to play an in-form nation in the last 16.

Germany’s Reasons for Optimism

There is a lot more optimism around German football now than there was in the Autumn. At that stage Germany looked lost for ideas and for a nation of Germany’s history to have to appoint a temporary manager, even one of the quality of Nagelsmann, is obviously not an ideal solution. Also, Bayern Munich were struggling domestically, partly down to Nagelsmann of course, and with, traditionally, a lot of German national team players coming out of Bayern, it was seen as a representation of the apparent decline in German quality in football.

However, the last few weeks and months have provided a real spring in the step of German football observers. The nation had two Champions League semi-finalists, and were mere minutes away from providing both finalists for the first time since 2012.

The fact that Dortmund, fifth place in the Bundesliga, have reached the Champions League final, could say much about the current quality of the league. Bayer Leverkusen’s success, their first ever Bundesliga crown, the reaching of the DFB-Pokal final and the Europa League final, in a currently unbeaten season, is undoubtedly the achievement of the season in all of European football. This combined effort from the German clubs in UEFA competition has meant that they will be granted an extra Champions League spot for next season as well.

The approach of Nagelsmann to use younger, in-form players, regardless of club has meant that there is a bit more freshness to the squad as well. Florian Wirtz will be full of confidence as well, and Kai Havertz’s renaissance as a forward in Arsenal’s Premier League title challenge will have pleased Nagelsmann no end.

Germany’s Potential Roadblocks

The group looks winnable from a German perspective. A lot could hinge on the Switzerland match, but as that is the final group game, much will have changed in the planning of the tournament, and some things will have become clearer for all parties.

The disappointng season that Bayern have had could affect the confidence of players such as Leroy Sane, Jamal Musiala, and Joshua Kimmich. However, it could also provide some motivation to turn their poor club season into an excellent international campaign.

If Germany don’t win the group then the routes look perilous. A 2nd or 3rd place finish will likely see Germany face-off against other European heavyweights from the very start of the knockout phase. It is a route better avoided by topping the group if possible.

Julian Nagelsmann Tactical Insights

With Germany not having had a qualification campaign to judge them on it is fairly difficult to get a handle on exactly what the team will look like in the tournament itself. Julian Nagelsmann as a coach has some elements of Red Bull DNA, despite learning his trade as a coach at Hoffenheim, but there will have to be an element of adapting his philosophies to the players available to him.

Nagelsmann has always employed a very attacking, vertical style i.e. he likes to play quickly forwards, often by-passing midfield, and takng as few touches as possible to get the play into the opposition’s defensive area. This is not long-ball football as we may have seen in the past, but, instead, quick, intelligent passing and pace in transition. This often comes with a high defensive line and a willingness to press the opposition to win the ball back high up the pitch.

For this system to work well the team will need speed and technical ability. It is, therefore, key to have the right athletes in the right positions. The growing influence of Bayer Leverkusen’s young star Florian Wirtz could be coming at a key time for Nagelsmann and Germany as he has the ability to play the way that the coach wants, and that helps to knit the forward line together. Jamal Musiala will also have a key role to play, and Nagelsmann will know him well from their time at Bayern together.

The basic formation is a 4-2-3-1, but in build-up this can adapt to a 3-2-5, or 3-1-6 or 2-3-5, depending on how Nagelsmann assesses the strengths or weaknesses of the opposition. Germany will not have a problem in being a bit more patient and keeping the ball, the question will then become, do they have the quality to defeat a low-block defence? Scotland will test this in the opening match.

Fan and Media Perspectives

There is an acceptance in Germany that this is not their vintage crop of players, but there is also genuine excitement in the country around a number of young talents that are emerging in the team and a quiet confidence that the improved displays in the last international break mean that Nagelsmann has been able to match a style of play to the players that he has available to him.

With this being a home tournament, it is obviously important for Germany to get a good start. This will allow the momentum to build and the country to be sold on the success of the national team. Joshua Kimmich recognises the need for the team to provide the inspiration for the nation, “I believe the people are ready for it. But we as a team must take the first step and be successful, then we can win the people over and emotionalise them.”