Opinion: Class of 2017 show Germany′s unparalleled strength in depth | National Team | DW | 30.06.2017
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National Team

Opinion: Class of 2017 show Germany's unparalleled strength in depth

The German team that beat Spain may not have the star appeal of the Class of 2009 but they are deservedly Europe's best. More than that, they demonstrate Germany's unmatched strength in depth, writes DW's Matt Pearson.

Germany's win in Krakow on Friday night may well prove to be the highlight of Mitchell Weiser's career. The Hertha Berlin wideman's exquisitely executed header sealed an unlikely German victory over a much-fancied Spanish side that, in Marcos Asensio and Saul Niguez, had players that featured on the winning and losing sides of the Champions League final.

Weiser, like his captain on Friday Max Arnold, is 23. He's one of the standout players in a Hertha side that exceeded expectations again this year, while Arnold looked decent in a Wolfsburg side that did the opposite.

Kommentarbild Matt Pearson

DW's Matt Pearson

Future looks bright

As much as the pair, and the likes of Janik Haberer (who was excellent at the base of midfield), or Weiser's clubmate Niklas Stark are dependable Bundesliga performers, it's hard to see many of Friday's team going on to have careers to rival those of the last German team to win the tournament eight years ago.

The Class of 2009 were, of course, an exceptional side - over half the starting lineup in their win over England in Malmö went on to lift the World Cup five years later.

Comparison with that particular crop should not diminish the achievement of the Class of 2017, or the plaudits they will rightly receive for a display full of intent, pressing and ruthlessness in the moments that mattered.

In fact, it stands only as further proof of Germany's unparalleled strength in depth. This was a young side shorn of Leroy Sane, Julian Brandt, Timo Werner, Joshua Kimmich, Julian Weigl, Matthias Ginter and Leon Goretzka, who are all either injured or in their country's Confederations Cup squad.

Weekend double

Germany are in with a good chance of winning that competition too, and again with a 'weakened' squad. Every other footballing nation in the world would give anything for a pair of first choice teams that could perform at the levels of Germany's second strings.

Polen | Fußball | UEFA U21-EM Finale | Deutschland vs Spanien (REUTERS/A. Iwanczuk)

Mitchell Weiser (center) celebrates his winner

There are a number of reasons why Germany is consistently producing such technically and mentally sound footballers, including the country's investment in youth academies, high coaching standards, relative wealth and the will of coaches to give young players a chance.

Weiser, Arnold, Haberer and Stark may not sell as many shirts in eight years time as Özil, Hummels, Khedira and Boateng do now but on Friday they proved that, if they are ever called upon, they won't let their country down.

In some ways, the list of names perceived to be ahead of them in the pecking order for the senior team may make a few of them wish they were eligible for another national team. But footballers tend to like winning, so probably not.

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