Low: Germany not like Barca
Germany coach Joachim Low has rejected comparisons between his side and Barcelona, but said he wants his players to be "mentally very fast" like world champions Spain.
Die Nationalmannschaft are expected to be among the main contenders for Euro 2012 glory this summer, having cruised through qualifying with an imperious record of ten wins from ten. Low's side reached the final of Euro 2008 and the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup, being beaten by eventual winners Spain on both occasions but winning many admirers for their attractive brand of football.
Germany's exciting, attacking style has brought comparisons with European champions Barcelona, but Low feels that his side have a more direct approach than the Catalans.
"We have developed a good mix of passing and running, ball-winning, and fast counter-attacks. We are not like Barcelona in keeping possession for very long," Low told DAPD. "I tell my team: if we win the ball, I want to see the ball in the goal in eight seconds. That's my philosophy."
Despite Germany's impressive qualifying campaign, Spain remain the favourites to retain their European Championship crown in Poland and Ukraine, and Low believes it is La Roja's mental strength that has been the key to their recent success.
"The Spaniards do not win with aggressiveness and strength in the challenge," Low said. "They are mentally very fast. And that's an important function in the development of all football players: it's about becoming faster in the thought.
"If a player has good technique and a good basic speed, but is slow in the head, this may reduce his value to the team."
Germany will come up against Denmark, Netherlands and Portugal in Group B of Euro 2012.