Germany will be going into Euro 2008 as favourites, having been the first side to qualify and providing displays that send clear warnings to their opponents that they are the real deal and are have more than a good chance of returning home after the tournament as European Champions. They have a formidable squad studded with current and future stars, but none are more critical to their Euro campaign than Miroslav Klose. â€œSalto-Kloseâ€, as he is affectionately dubbed by fans, is arguably the German teamâ€™s most popular player, both within the team and by the German people, due to his deadly finishes, unselfish play, clinical aerial ability, spectacular front-flip goal celebrations and his knack of producing his best performances on the big stage.
At club level he has proven himself to be a player of the highest calibre, establishing himself as one of the most deadly strikers in the Bundesliga during his time at Werder Bremen and subsequently after his high-profile move to Bayern Munich at the beginning of the 2007/08 season. Since then he has worked in conjunction with Italy international and former-Fiorentina star Luca Toni, setting up one of the most devastatingly lethal strike forces in Europe. So strong is this partnership even one of the brightest talents in the world, fellow Polish-born German Lukas Podolski is having trouble putting forward a bid for a spot in the starting lineup.
Internationally, his quality has shone as a beacon of light for his adopted country. He has produced some of his finest performances on the international arena, including his 5 goals each at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups, the latter performance earning him one of international footballâ€™s most coveted individual accolades, the Golden Ball. His current international form includes 5 goals in the Euro 2008 qualifiers, and his form at club level has seen him bag 20 goals for Bayern in all competitions.
He is the type of player whose level of performance rubs off onto those around him, lifting them when he is on fire and discouraging them on the odd occasions when he doesnâ€™t. His good performances are far more frequent than his bad ones, and as they are often triggered by being involved in big games, his adopted country can rest assured they have one of the most potentially influential players of the coming European Championships.
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