Who’s on the Plane? Germany Euro 2020 Squad Power Rankings – February

?We’re another month close to having a football-filled summer, with Euro 2020 set to kick off in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on June 12.

A lot of eyes will be on Joachim Löw’s Germany side after they crashed and burned in their defence of the World Cup in 2018, but Die Mannschaft will have a very different look about them this time around.

Germany’s manager has already kicked out Mats Hummels, Jérôme Boateng and Thomas Müller from the national team, so there will be plenty of new faces for international audiences to see at Euro 2020.

Löw doesn’t have to pick his final 23-man squad just yet, but here’s who a look at would make 90min’s Germany team based off their form in February.


23. Kevin Trapp (New Entry)

Picking a final 23-man squad is a cutthroat business so as far as Germany’s third-choice goalkeeper is concerned, we’ve had to leave Bernd Leno and Alexander Nübel behind.

Trapp’s had his problems with injuries but he’s helped to turn a pretty dismal season for Eintracht Frankfurt on its head and they’re back on their way up the table.

22. Florian Neuhaus (New Entry)

Florian Neuhaus

A senior national team call-up has been well overdue for Florian Neuhaus but with all the competition that’s going to be on offer, he might be the best player who goes to Euro 2020 without actually playing any football.

Maybe next time.

21. Robin Gosens (New Entry)

‘But why’s Gosens going ahead of Nico Schulz?’

Watch Borussia Dortmund. That’s why.

20. Leroy Sané (-)

Even without any ligaments left in his knee, Sané’s still going to be one of Germany’s most important player this summer.

Leroy Sane

It’s also going to be a great chance for him to put himself on the transfer market as he looks to leave Manchester City, even though we know where he’ll be going already – don’t we, Herbert Hainer…

19. Robin Koch (-)

Even Jogi Löw knows the comedic gold that will come with Clive Tyldesley shouting ‘Koch block’ on terrestrial television so he’s going to be on the plane for sure.

18. Jonathan Tah (Down 2)

Tah’s been a Germany international for quite some time but has only picked up nine appearances for the national team, although without Hummels and Boateng he’ll be starting most games at Euro 2020.

Jonathan Tah ,

17. Marco Reus (Down 8)

Please don’t get injured. 

Please don’t get injured. 

Please don’t get injured.

16. Marcel Halstenberg (Up 1)

He’ll be Germany’s first-choice left back at Euro 2020, even though he’s played as a centre-back at RB Leipzig over the last couple of weeks.

 

15. Suat Serdar (-)

Serdar’s been a big loss for Schalke over the last couple of weeks following an ankle injury.

But he’s still been one of the most impressive midfielders in the Bundesliga this season.

 

14. Antonio Rüdiger (-)

Antonio Rüdiger

There’s every chance that Rüdiger will be Germany’s most senior centre-back at Euro 2020 as on top of Hummels and Boateng being ommited, Niklas Süle might not recover from a long-term injury he picked up in October.

13. Emre Can (Up 5)

Can swapped Juventus for Borussia Dortmund to get himself back in contention for a place in the national team.

It should work too. Jogi Löw doesn’t have too many defensive midfielders with Can’s stature, let alone anyone who can pick out the top corner of the opposition’s net from 40 yards.

12. Leon Goretzka (Up 1)

At the worst of times, Goretzka’s always been quite a useful player to have in and around the national team, but he’s been involved in five goals in the Rückrunde alone 

11. Julian Brandt (Up 1)

It’s not all gone Brandt’s way sine joining Borussia Dortmund but he’ll have a big part to play for Germany at Euro 2020.

If nothing else, it’s still just a chance for fans to see Brandt re-kindle his relationship with Kai Havertz with Die Mannschaft.

Kai Havertz,Julian Brandt

 10. Marc-André ter Stegen (Up 1)

Ter Stegen would be starting for all-but-one national side who will be at Euro 2020.

Unfortunately for him, the one that he won’t be starting for is Germany.

9. Lukas Klostermann (Down 1)

Germany have the best right back in world football playing for them.

The only problem is the best right back in world football will be playing as a defensive midfielder at Euro 2020, but Lukas Klostermann will be a welcomed addition to Jogi Löw’s starting lineup.

8. Kai Havertz (Up 2)


Form is temporary, class is permanent…we hope.

Havertz hasn’t been at his devastating best for Bayer Leverkusen this season but, at this stage, he’s unlikely to be left out of a national team squad until he retires from international duty.

7. ?lkay Gündo?an (-)

Well, this is going to be Gündo?an’s last taste of European football for quite a while isn’t it…?

6. Matthias Ginter (Down 1)

Borussia Mönchengladbach have the joint best defensive record in the Bundesliga this season and a lot of that comes down to Ginter.

FBL-GER-BUNDESLIGA-MOENCHENGLADBACH-MAINZ

He didn’t even make their squad back in 2016 and Ginter was only ever on the bench when Germany won the World Cup in 2014, but he should be one of the first names on the teamsheet this summer.

5. Timo Werner (Down 1)

At this point, no one would be surprised if Jogi Löw decided to call up a 107-year-old Mario Gómez, but it should be a fairly safe bet that Werner will be leading the line for Germany.

He’s the highest-scoring Germany player across all competitions and even though he’s slowed down a fair bit since the turn of the year, he’s still been involved in 35 goals in 31 appearances this season.

4. Serge Gnabry (Up 2)

Well, Löw’s hardly going to send Karim Bellarabi to Euro 2020 is he?


Germany need to wrap Gnabry in cotton wool and bubble wrap to make sure he’s at full strength this summer.

3. Joshua Kimmich (-)

Germany’s manager has been pushing to use Kimmich in midfield for a number of years and with Klostermann finally ready to step up as a right back, he’ll get the chance to play centrally at a major tournament.

He’s had plenty of experience in midfield at Bayern Munich this season too.

2. Toni Kroos (-)

Going into Euro 2020, Kroos will be the highest scoring Germany international.

Yep, with 17 goals for Die Mannschaft, Kroos has scored more times for his country than any other active German player.

Toni Kroos

Lukas Podolski, Mesut Özil and André Schürrle have all scored more goals, but it’s safe to say neither of them will be breaking into the national team over the next few months.

1. Manuel Neuer (-)

Jogi Löw has the choice between starting a goalkeeper who is currently being out-performed by Thibaut Courtois, or someone who’s won the last seven domestic league titles.

He’s going to be picking the latter.


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter!

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Jimmy Greaves’ Recognition Has Been Too Little, But Not Too Late

Everyone knows the important extract of the transcript taken from the 1966 World Cup final – the immortal words of Kenneth Wolstenholme.

And here comes Hurst! He’s got… Some people are on the pitch! They think it’s all over… It is now, it’s four!

And yet the finest moment in English football history could have belonged to someone else if not for 14 stitches in his shin.

Jimmy Greaves

Jimmy Greaves started England’s World Cup campaign as their first-choice striker, before a leg injury suffered in a group stage game against France ruled him out for most of the tournament. He was declared fit to play the final, but Alf Ramsey wanted to stick with a winning team and chose to start Geoff Hurst. The rest was illustrious, recounted, decorated history.

And while his country celebrated the greatest triumph they’d ever see, the wait began for Greaves, a wait that would last 43 long years. It was only in 2009 that he received his medal for winning the World Cup, yet he was so much more than the 12th man, the nearly-man.

Norman Hunter,Jimmy Greaves

Earlier in February, Sportsmail announced they were starting a petition for Jimmy Greaves to receive a British honour ahead of his 80th birthday this month. BT Sport are releasing a documentary in his honour on 18 February, and it’s about time he received the attention befitting of the record goalscorer of the English top flight.

He remains one of the most underrated players of all time, he might even be the most; don’t come around here talking of Michael Carrick, James Milner or Claude Makelele.

The lack of publicity Greaves gets in the modern day from a footballing standpoint is ludicrous when almost every measurement of how good a player is now boils down to stats – strikers are judged on numbers the most.

For the easiest argument on that front, here’s his complete goal record.?

Club Season Apps Goals GPG
Chelsea 1957/58 37 22 0.59
Chelsea 1958/59 47 37 0.79
Chelsea 1959/60 42 30 0.71
Chelsea 1960/61 43 43 1.00
Milan 1961/62 14 9 0.64
Tottenham 1961/62 31 30 0.97
Tottenham 1962/63 49 44 0.90
Tottenham 1963/64 45 36 0.80
Tottenham 1964/65 45 35 0.78
Tottenham 1965/66 31 16 0.52
Tottenham 1966/67 47 31 0.66
Tottenham 1967/68 48 29 0.60
Tottenham 1968/69 52 36 0.69
Tottenham 1969/70 33 11 0.33
West Ham 1969/70 6 4 0.67
West Ham 1970/71 34 9 0.26
England 1959-1967 57 44 0.77
TOTAL? N/?A ?602 422? 0.70?

There were only two seasons in Greaves’ whole career where he wasn’t scoring more than one goal every two games – the last of his professional career. In nine of his 14 seasons at the top, he scored more than two in three. From a 17-year-old at ?Chelsea right until he was entering his 30s, he guaranteed you goals at a rate consistently unheard of in English football post-WWII – a bloody good lot of goals.

With 44 in 57, Greaves is fourth in England’s list of record scorers, and no one who played for the Three Lions at the same time as him or after has a better goals to game ratio. Not one person. The closest is ?Harry Kane on 0.71, who’s also chasing his goal record at Tottenham – the 26-year-old has 181 so far, still 85 shy of Greaves’ landmark.

But his crowning glory is that he’s the highest goalscorer in the history of the English top flight with 357 goals, bagging 100 by the time he was 20, scoring on every major debut he had, leading the scoring charts in his first six seasons at ?Tottenham, the best player these shores saw in the 1960s that wasn’t a Busby Babe.

In an era where the only route into European competition was by winning the league or cup and receiving qualification as a bonus, Greaves still managed to claim five major honours, including that World Cup as well as playing a major part of the Tottenham side who won the 1963 Cup Winners’ Cup – the first British club to win on the continent. In his first two finals for Spurs, he scored inside three minutes in eventual victories; the early bird with predatory instincts.

Ron Henry,Cliff Jones,Dave Mackay,Jimmy Greaves

Tottenham are a club steeped in history and pride themselves on it, and there are few men who contributed to their longstanding reputation in England and Europe than Greaves. Only Glenn Hoddle and Paul Gascoigne can rival him in saying he was the best Spurs player to have never won the title with them.

In a brief spell in Italy, he played 12 Serie A games for ?Milan in the year they won the Scudetto. But the major blip on his CV is that for all of his goals, for all of the six golden boots he would have won if they existed back then, Greaves never managed to win the old Division 1, breaking into the Chelsea team two years after their first ever title in 1955, arriving at Spurs a year after they won their last in 1961. 

It’s hardly a stain on his glittering career, but rather the empty slot on the end of his mantle piece. The real travesty will be if the country he represented, the country he broke records in and for do not recognise him before it’s too late. Missing out on that World Cup final admittedly haunted him, but the outcome of his personal World Cup final can still fall his way.

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Frank Lampard: What’s Going On, Buddy?

Folded arms. Scowl ?across the face. Thousand-yard stare. 

This has become an all-too regular sight for Chelsea fans looking to their manager, as the Blues endure an ever increasingly poor slump, with defeat at home to Manchester United the latest in a long run of disappointing outings. 

Fred,Ngolo Kante

Chelsea’s season so far can almost be split in two – before and after November’s international winter break. 

If you cast your mind back to the weekend before that ?Premier League hiatus, when Ciara and Dennis were merely the odd couple in the flat upstairs, Chelsea had just beaten ?Crystal Palace comfortably 2-0 at home, their eighth win from the opening 12 league games under Frank Lampard, seeing them nip into third place.

Confidence was high among the camp with young English academy products present everywhere you looked with Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and the second top-scorer in the division at the time Tammy Abraham already regulars in the starting lineup, with all three getting the national team call-up that month.

Tammy Abraham,Mason Mount


Abraham and Mount both opened their international scoring accounts as the ?Chelsea squad went into the fixture against ?Manchester City in a collective state of unadulterated self-confidence.

The game at the Etihad would prove to be their first of seven league defeats in the 14 games they’ve played since, picking up only four wins in that time.

So, what happened?

Well, the good(ish) news first. Their defence has pretty much stayed the same, if not slightly improved. It looks as if additional time playing together has seen Lampard’s side become more of a complete pressing unit.

The only downside to this is that challenging their opponents high up the pitch has often led to them giving up clear cut chances on the break – only ?Burnley have conceded more counter attacking goals than the Blues this season, think of Gabriel Martinelli’s goal for ?Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in January as a recent example.

Gabriel Martinelli

However, attack has been the main issue for the Blues in recent weeks. Prior to the November break Chelsea had scored 27 goals in their first 12 games, in the following 14 league outings Lampard’s side have mustered 16. While over- and under-performing expected goals in this period exaggerates the issue, there has been a clear drop-off at the sharp end of the pitch.

Much has been made about their poor finishing and that is certainly a factor to consider. In the first 12 games of the season Chelsea had an overall shot conversion rate of 13%, which is a little high but not other-worldly. Yet since mid-November, the west London side’s attack has more than halved in efficiency, putting up a conversion rate of just 6%.

Based on previous instances of team’s going through this kind of finishing slump, it looks as though it’s only a matter of time before they return to the norm.

The more worrying aspect of Chelsea’s attack in the production of these chances. Over the past three months, they’ve been taking fewer shots of worse quality compared to that of Chelsea’s autumn vintage.

Abraham himself serves as a good yard-stick for Chelsea’s attack as, since his first strike on the international stage, he’s managed only three in 12 league outings compared to the 10 he plundered in his first dozen. 

Tammy Abraham

In fairness to Lampard, this is his first season in charge of a Premier League club and only his second ever as a manager so, while the gap has been cut, a place in fourth by mid-February and progression in the Champions League is not bad going. 

To add to his inexperience, Lampard has had to contend with numerous injuries peppered throughout the squad with ?N’Golo Kanté’s uncharacteristic physical ailments a particularly significant and unexpected obstruction. 

Since May 2019, Kanté has missed 84 days due to multiple niggling injuries, having previously only been out for 34 days since the 2015/16 season. 

Another unforeseen oddity of the Chelsea season so far has been the Blues’ abysmal home record, with the 2-0 defeat against ?Manchester United adding to their horrible form at Stamford Bridge.


With all that considered, this current iteration of Chelsea plays a somewhat messy, swashbuckling style of football with a young group of exciting players led by a young manager. The recent drop off in form has been significant but is by no means terminal. 

This remains a team which should secure ?Champions League football even without the possible added safety of fifth being could enough for Europe’s elite competition next season. As for Lampard’s managerial capabilities, the true extent of his skills in the dugout remains to be seen.  

But for now, the club seems on the right track, and a lack of home comforts and finishing aside, fans need not tear up their season tickets in anger just yet.

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Twitter Reacts to Maguire Kick, VAR & More as Man Utd Win Battle at the Bridge

Manchester United secured a vital 2-0 away Premier League win over Chelsea in the race for European places on Monday evening, in a closely fought game which was dominated by VAR.

Twice Frank Lampard’s men had goals ruled out as the Blues were left frustrated by the video assistant referee.

Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud both had headers disallowed once they had undergone a review, while – most controversially – United captain Maguire avoided punishment for an apparent kick on Michy Batshuayi.



United will be overjoyed by a victory that moves them to within three points of their hosts who currently occupy fourth place.

So without further ado, let’s see how a night of controversy unfolded…


Both managers made a few surprising selection calls ahead of the game. Lampard again chose Willy Caballero over Kepa in between the sticks for the Blues.

And Olé Gunnar Solskjaer handed centre-back, Eric Bailly, his first start since the 4-0 opening day victory over Chelsea at home in August. 

Decisions that definitely got fans talking prior to kick-off…






??Chelsea started on the front foot and Reece James had the first meaningful effort at goal. The teenager struck it sweetly enough but it just flashed past De Gea’s far post.

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??Kanté was taken off injured inside the opening 10 minutes and United ‘s new boy Bruno Fernandes almost capitalised on Chelsea being a man light…

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In a lacklustre half, United were lucky not to be reduced to ten men as Maguire appeared to kick out at Batshuayi… and he was fortunate not to receive his marching orders for petulance. 





Mason Mount replaced Kanté and he was soon pulling strings in Chelsea’s midfield. Midway through the half, he put it on a plate for striker Batshuayi but the Belgian got his angles crossed.

Safe to say, Chelsea fans were fairly dismayed by his effort…


A frustrating first half for Batshuayi and one which was only compounded by Antony Martial heading United into the lead just before half-time.



Chelsea thought they had equalised through substitute Kurt Zouma’s header but it was ruled out for a push on Brandon Williams.

Cue yet more frustration from the home support…



As Chelsea’s anguish continued, United almost scored…as Fernandes hit the post with a free-kick.

Then they did, as Maguire who arguably shouldn’t have been on the pitch, thumped in a header… as those of a blue persuasion buried their head in their hands.



And when Lampard’s men thought it couldn’t get any worse… it did. An evening of huge frustration was complete when yet again Chelsea were denied by VAR.

This time it was Giroud who was left frustrated…




It was a controversial night at the Bridge and much of the discontent was voiced towards VAR at full-time…


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Chelsea 0-2 Man Utd: Report, Ratings and Reaction as United Survive VAR Scares to Grab Key Win

Manchester United won a hotly contested battle against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, as a controversial 2-0 win once again saw VAR dominated the headlines.

Antony Martial and Harry Maguire both scored headers either side of half time as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men rode their luck at times to secure all three points. 

Harry Maguire

The Blues were twice victims of marginal calls as substitutes Kurt Zouma and then Olivier Giroud both saw their efforts ruled out in an eventful ?Premier League clash.

In a first 45 devoid of quality, Aaron Wan Bissaka produced an excellent cross for Martial to divert past Willy Caballero just minutes before the interval. 

Zouma thought he had dragged his side back level but Azplicueta was deemed to have fouled Brandon Williams in the build-up and the goal was disallowed.

?Man Utd skipper Maguire who was fortunate to still be on the field, having earlier appeared to kick out at Michy Batshuayi, then powered home from a Bruno Fernandes corner.

But the drama wasn’t finished there, Giroud thought he had halved the deficit but again VAR came to the visitors’ rescue. 


CHELSEA

Key Talking Point?

Where else to start, other than that three-letter word VAR?

It was a night of sheer frustration for Lampard’s men as not once but twice they were denied goals courtesy of the video assistant referee, while the system failed to intervene on Maguire’s off-the-ball challenge.

Chelsea FC v Manchester United - Premier League

First Zouma’s header was ruled out after Azplicueta had been adjudged to push Williams in the build-up to the goal.

But it appeared harsh, especially as the Spaniard had been initially impeded by United midfielder Fred.

Then they had the injustice of Maguire finding the back of the net after the England defender arguably should have been sent off for his earlier kick out on Batshuayi.

Substitute Giroud was the next to be denied, though there was little to complain about as his foot was clearly offside for his expertly taken header.

Nevertheless, it was another game that once again had pundits and spectators alike talking about VAR and its implications, more than the teams’ performances.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Caballero (6); James (6), Christensen (5), Rüdiger (5), Azpilicueta (6); Jorginho (6), Kanté (5), Kova?i? (7*); Willian (6), Pedro (5), Batshuayi (4)

Subs: Mount (7), Zouma (7), Giroud (7)


STAR MAN – Mateo Kova?i?

The Croatian midfielder is enjoying his best season in the Blue of Chelsea and he was once again the driving force behind Lampard’s men against United.

He was constantly looking to pick the ball up and make things happen for the home side. 


The midfielder was at his battling best up against Fred and Chelsea old boy Nemanja Mati? in the centre of the park.

Ngolo Kanté being forced off early through injury meant a greater onus was placed on Kova?i?’s shoulders, a responsibility which he took in his stride.

He was denied by a wonderful last-ditch challenge by Eric Bailly as Chelsea looked to claw their way back into the game. 


MANCHESTER UNITED


Key Talking Point

United probably should have been down to ten men with Maguire lucky to stay on the pitch. In a carbon copy of the Heung-min Son red card against Chelsea, tumbling to the floor Maguire seemed to petulantly kick out at Batshuayi off the ball, catching him in the groin.


Referee Antony Taylor missed the indiscretion but the decision was consulted by VAR. However, no violent conduct was decided and Maguire remained on the field.

It was, without doubt, a turning point in the game as United would have found it an uphill task had Maguire received his marching orders.

The Chelsea bench, boss Lampard and Jody Morris were up in arms by the ruling to wave play on without punishment for United’s skipper.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: De Gea (6); Wan-Bissaka (7), Bailly (8*), Maguire (7), Shaw (7), Williams (7); Fred (7), Mati? (8), B.Fernandes (7); James (6), Martial (7).

Subs: Pereira (6), Ighalo (6), Dalot (N/A)


STAR MAN – Eric Bailly

After a nervy start to the game, Bailly grew into the match and gave a solid performance at the heart of United’s defence.

It was expected that the defender would take a while to bed back into United’s rearguard, having been out since the opening day victory against Chelsea in August.




But it didn’t take him long to settle back in and he produced reminders of his undoubted quality alongside Maguire and Luke Shaw in a United back three.

He slotted straight back into the team and it didn’t appear as if he had gone over six months without seeing first-team action.

The Ivorian produced one incredible block to deny Kova?i? when Chelsea were threatening to mount a fightback.

It was not a flawless display but one full of promise and United’s fans will be pleased to have Bailly back available once again.


Looking Ahead

The Blues face another stern ?Premier League test on Saturday as they come up against former boss Jose Mourinho and ?Tottenham to Stamford Bridge.

United are back in action on Thursday night when they travel to Belgium to take on Club Brugge in the first leg of their last 16 Europa League tie.

Let’