After a decisive victory against Holland, Germany Coach Joachim Löw must alter his lineup with Jerome Boateng suspended. The change comes at a key time, as Germany have not yet qualified for the quarterfinals.
With qualification into the quarterfinals not quite secured, and right back Jerome Boateng suspended, Germany Coach Joachim Löw may not have the room that he wants to experiment in Sunday's upcoming match against Denmark.
After a dominant 2-1 victory over the Netherlands Wednesday, Germany sit atop Group B with six points.
"With this victory I think we have opened the door to the quarterfinals," said Löw. "It's now in our hands."
Progression, though, is not assured. If Portugal beat Holland by more than two goals, Germany must win or draw against Denmark, who began the tournament with a shock 1-0 victory over the Dutch, to guarantee advancement to the quarterfinals.
A commanding performance
Fans finally got to see the Germany they had been waiting for after a somewhat subdued performance against Portugal, including heavy criticism of goal scorer Mario Gomez. He responded with two goals against the Dutch, which put him at three for the tournament, tied for leading scorer along with Russia's Alan Dzagoev and Croatia's Mario Mandzukic.
"It was not right for me to score the winner against Portugal and get my face slapped for three days," said Gomez after the match. "The team believes in me and the trainer also said to me that I did well and that he believes in me."
Jerome Boateng will miss Sunday's game through suspension
Right back Jerome Boateng, who put in a heroic performance against Portugal in Germany's opening round win, picked up his second yellow card of the group stage Wednesday against the Netherlands, meaning he will be suspended for Sunday's game.
Löw, who has yet to alter his starting lineup so far this tournament, will be forced to make a change.
The favorite to start is Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Lars Bender, who played right back early in his career. Bender, who has played just eight times for his country, has been a part of Löw's plans at the Euro 2012, coming off the bench in both of Germany's group stage victories.
Schalke defender Benedikt Höwedes is another possibility. Although he has much more experience at right back than Bender, he has yet to make an appearance this tournament.
The Lahm question
A final option is to move captain Phillip Lahm, who has been playing left back for Germany this tournament but plays right back for his club Bayern Munich, to the other side. Löw may not want to upset the successful chemistry that Lahm has already established with Bayern teammate Holger Badstuber and long time national teammate Lukas Podolski.
Lahm, known for being equally adept on either side of the defense, would have to form a new partnership with right-sided Borussia Dortmund center back Mats Hummels. The two have not played next to one another nearly as often, and in Wednesday's game, Hummels did not complete a single pass to Lahm.
Löw may also want to keep Lahm and Podolski, who is in line to gain his 100th cap against Denmark, on the left flank. Long-time Danish right-winger Dennis Rommedahl has been slow to track back defensively this tournament, and the attacking duo will look to take advantage.
Author: David Raish
Editor: Matt Zuvela