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Defending champions Germany will be clear favourites

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Current World Ranking # 2 (1988 points)

Clubbed with the Netherlands, India, Korea, New Zealand and Belgium in Pool B at the London Games.

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Best result: Won gold at 1972 Munich (then West Germany), 1992 Barcelona and 2008 Beijing Games.

Last Olympics: Champions (defeated Spain 1-0 in the final)

Only 200 points separate the Germans from the top-ranked team, the Netherlands. They are one of the most successful teams in Olympic hockey with three silvers (two as West Germany) and three bronzes. They were also the World Champions in 2002 and 2006 and lost to Australia in 2010 in the final. They finished fifth in the 2011 Champions Trophy.

The Road to London:
The defending champions qualified for this year's Games as the European champion. They won the 2011 EuroHockey Championship last year by defeating the Netherlands 4-2 in the final.
The Germans went unbeaten at the 2011 European championship and also won the London Test Event this May defeating a strong Australia twice.

Players to watch out for:
Midfielder Moritz F√úrste, 27, who returned from a knee injury in March and led his club UHC Hamburg to its third Euro Hockey League title, has been part of German Olympic, WC and European champion teams. Mattias Witthaus, with 356 caps, will be appearing in his fourth Olympics this year. Captain of the gold-winning team at Beijing Games Timo Wess will be another key man, though he is not the captain this time.

1. A vastly experienced team. Ten players of the current squad are from the 2008 title-winning team.
2. The team is a powerful unit as a whole. Both their attack and defence are powerful.
3. High-fitness level.
4. Very professional and plays to a plan.

1. Injury problems for flicker Christopher Zeller is a worry.
2. Weak first-penalty corner shot.

Chances of progress at London Games: 9/10
Germany is a clear favourite to win the London Games gold. Only the Netherlands look a threat to the Germans in the group stage. Germany will play their first match against Belgium on Jul 30.

Maximillan Mueller (c), Max Weinhold (gk), Oliver Korn, Tobias Hauke, Martin Haner, Moritz Furste, Florian Fuchs, Jan Philipp Rabente, Thilo Stralkowski, Oskar Deecke, Christopher Wesley, Benjamin Wess, Timo Wess, Matthias Witthaus, Philipp Zeller and Christopher Zeller. Reserves: Nicolas Jacobi (gk) and Linus Butt.

Markus Weise guided two German teams to win Olympic gold, the women's team at the 2004 Athens Games and the men's team at the 2008 Games. He is the first coach to have achieved best result with both the men's and women's teams. A resident of hamburg, Weise took over the men's team's charge in 2006.

OneIndia News

Story first published: Saturday, July 21, 2012, 13:35 [IST]
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