Thomas Muller has ten career goals in the World Cup but has yet to score at the European Championship Image Credit: Reuters

"Never write off the Germans."

It’s a phrase that has been muttered by many pundits, commentators and fans of the beautiful game over the years.

It also has a genuine element of truth to it – how can you write off a nation that has won four World Cups and three European Championships?

But people continue to do so, with many believing Die Mannschaft don’t stand much chance of winning Euro 2024, despite the tournament being played on home soil.

Do they have a point? Arguably yes, they do.

England great Gary Lineker once quipped, "Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win."

For the last three major international tournaments, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The 2014 World Cup winners failed to get out of the group four years later after suffering defeats to South Korea and Mexico. It was the first time since 1938 that West Germany or the unified Germany team had not advanced beyond the first stage of the tournament.

Three years later, they got through the group stages by the skin of their teeth at the European Championship, before England knocked them out at Wembley.

At the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Germany failed to reach the knockout stages again on the game’s biggest stage, with a defeat against Japan in their opening game proving the catalyst for another disappointing campaign.

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Takuma Asano scored the winning goal for Japan against Germany Image Credit: AFP

The loss of leaders from their 2014 World Cup squad was certainly a factor for the early exit in 2018. Captain Philipp Lahm, the World Cup’s top scorer Miroslav Klose and the vocal Per Mertesacker all retired shortly after victory in Brazil. Lahm's successor Bastian Schweinsteiger followed suit in 2016.

The same can’t be said for their exit in Qatar. Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller and lkay Gundogan were the next leaders to take up the mantle, but Germany still failed to deliver the goods.

World-class players weren’t a problem either. Their 26-man squad boasted the likes of Leroy Sane, Joshua Kimmich, Antonio Rudiger and Jamal Musiala.

Striker Kai Havertz confessed Germany’s second successive group stage exit at the World Cup exit felt like a “horror movie”.

Havertz and his peers were simply not good enough and failed to take the chances they had to leave German football in search of answers.

Making a comeback

Nearly two years on from that embarrassment, Germany have the opportunity to wrong the rights of the last three tournaments.

Julian Nagelsmann is now the manager of the national team after Hansi Flick, who was at the helm for the 2022 World Cup, was sacked following a humiliating 4-1 friendly defeat to Japan last year. The loss was Germany's fourth loss in their last five matches.

At just 36-year-old, Nagelsmann is a young for a manager, but still highly respected at the top level after spells with TSG Hoffenheim, RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich.

He brings a fresh and progressive approach to a team that was in much need of a reset and refresh.

Over the next four weeks, expect his German side to press high with plenty of energy, while employing a variety of different tactical approaches to mastermind victories against other European heavyweights.

The squad also has an exciting mix of youth and experience.

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Toni Kross will retire from the game after the tournament Image Credit: Reuters

Legendary midfielder will Toni Kroos will be playing his final games before retiring from football, while Muller, Neuer and Joshua Kimmich are all still mainstays in the squad.

Musiala is now a regular in the side and has developed into quite the player after making his European Championship debut at the last edition at the age of just 18.

Florian Wirtz will also be a welcome addition after missing the last World Cup with an injury. The 21-year-old was the standout star in Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten Bundesliga campaign, scoring 11 and assisting 11 more to help Leverkusen win their first ever top-flight title.

Having said that, this is not to say that everything is rosy with Germany. They have won just six of 15 games since Qatar.

But they are unbeaten in their last five, which includes wins against the Netherlands and France. A sign that things are moving in the right direction.

Nagelsmann has now settled on a 4-2-3-1 formation after experimenting with a range of different options in his first few games and things have seemingly clicked.

The next step is putting that into play in a competitive fixture, of which tonight’s opening match against Scotland is their first since the 2022 World Cup. As host nations, Germany have not had to go through qualifying for the tournament.

They are still a squad in transition and not many people are giving Germany much of a chance of winning the tournament for a record fourth time. But the lack of noise around them could just be the tonic to a successful campaign.

Write off the Germans at the your peril.