Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

My Euro 2012 Preview Part 3: Germans out to conquer Europe

Germans out to conquer Europe
by rick olivares

The headline got your attention, didn't it? No, this isn't a long lost story out of World War II. This is for all the marbles as the best European football squad in the world's second biggest football tournament outside the World Cup. And these are the teams that I expect to advance beyond the group stage. I threw in a wild card in their with Ireland over Italy. Really!

Group A
Czech Republic

Group B

Group C

Group D

Czech Republic vs. Netherlands
Spain vs. England
Germany vs. Russia
France vs. Ireland

I really like the Germany-Russia and France-Ireland matchups. Explosive is an understatement.

Netherlands vs. Germany
Spain vs. France

Germany vs. Spain


You’d probably think that I am bonkers for choosing Germany over the defending champions. Maybe I am but I am still going with Germany and that is not because I am rooting for them. If I were to go with the team I root for then that is France.

Here’s why I think the Germans are ready to rule Europe once more.

The team that played so beautifully in the 2010 World Cup is now two years older and wiser and now armed with the knowledge and experience of top-flight football. The youth movement that swept that team – Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Mario Gomez, and Jerome Boateng – are ready. And then there’s midfielder Toni Kroos who doesn’t get much credit for his play as Schweinsteiger, Ozil and Khedira mind their middle third. While they all performed well since that tournament and in the club level, it remains to be seen if Gomez can show his worth on a world stage. He is one of those who do well for club but not for country.

Head coach Joachim Low has veterans Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose who can not only score but have also shown consistently they rise to the occasion on the big stage. They also have the rock steady Bastian Schweinsteiger and team captain Philip Lahm. If you’re wondering why I have not mentioned central back Per Mertesacker that is because he has played sparingly this year because of an injury. His place on defense is crucial. Expect Mats Hummels or Holger Badstuber to help him out. Hummels and Badstuber are quick to ignite Germany’s offense. If they steal the ball watch out for the German counter-attack.

The character of this team is their fluid attacking game that has seen them play some of the best football this side of Brazil. While some of the images from the last World Cup was their offense covering up the flaws of their defense, it bears mentioning that they have become a better possession-minded team that retains their scoring flair.

For all his side’s talent, Low has openly said that they will not underestimate the teams in the group for Portugal, Netherlands, and Denmark are led by world-class stars who are proven winners.

There is hunger in this team after they were denied in the last World Cup (by a suspension to Thomas Muller that did them in) and in the European finals. The contingent from Bayern Munich, still smarting from the stunning Champions League loss to Chelsea, would want to end the season with a major trophy.

Now why am I picking them over Spain? Spain struggled to score last World Cup. They scored the fewest goals of any World Cup champion (eight). They are without David Villa and Carles Puyol who are both injured. Villa was their top scorer last time around with five goals. And there will be no Lionel Messi for them to finish (since a lot of these players are from Barcelona). I have to wonder if the carefully developed chemistry of the last few years has eroded with the testy and rough El Clasicos over the past two years.

Spain is dangerous and every bit a favorite to be the first ever repeat Euro champions. But they look vulnerable more than they ever did last time around while Germany are stronger.

It’s going to be close but I see Joachim Low’s boys ascending to the top.

Miroslav Klose is closing in on the great Gerd Muller’s scoring record for Germany. Klose has 63 to the 68 of Muller although the latter accomplished that record in only 62 matches between 1966-74 (where he was teammates with Franz Beckenbauer).


In case you missed the first two parts, here are the links:

Part 1The Grudge Matches
Part 2 The Group of Death


  1. rick, if your predictions comes true and the netherlands and germany qualifies for group B and hurdles their QF matches, why are they playing each at the semi-finals.
    it should be that teams who qualify from the same group SHOULD not play against each other until the final. the top qualifier and group runner-up must be separated into the upper and lower brackets after the elims.
    these also happened during the 2002 world cup, where brazil and turkey qualified for group C but still played each other during the semis which the brazilians won 1-0.
    why is these happening at the highest level of the sport?
    i was fearlessly predicting that these two teams from group B will play for the euro trophy, now i think ill be a game short of my prediction.

  2. I think Denmark is the Germany of World Cup 2010.

  3. if Possible Philippines could follow the germany youth structure , of requiring Professional clubs to have its own youth system , pero as for now medjo malabo pa na mangayari , sa UFL ,

    but someday eto sana mangyari , na merong youth systems ang each clubs . except maybe for armed forces squads .

    wow its been 4 years. since I watched euro tournament and I think I'm the only person who showed interest in football that time. hard core na hard core dati,

    it will also be good to show this quality games to the general public (of the philippines)sir ric .
    para maintdihan nila na medjo malayo pa ang azkals sa international level pero . hindi mag tatagal aabot din tayo sa level ng Japan at South Korea.