Loew's new young guns excite
GARY LIM sizes up five youngsters capable of taking the tournament by storm and steering the favourites to more glory
GERMANY v UKRAINE
(Tomorrow, 2.50am, Singtel TV Ch 142 & StarHub TV Ch 220 - Eleven EURO)
In 2014, Germany's Manuel Neuer, Mesut Oezil, Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos, Jerome Boateng and Sami Khedira all fulfilled their potential.
Previously touted as footballers with star potential, Joachim Loew unleashed them at the World Cup Finals in Brazil and, by the end of the tournament, they morphed into some of the most wanted men in the game.
A new crop is now chomping at the bit as Germany prepare to take on Ukraine in their opening match of Euro 2016 in Lille tomorrow morning (Singapore time).
International caps: 19
He is the only player among the quintet to have played in a major tournament, coming on as a substitute in the stunning 7-1 mauling of hosts Brazil in the semi-finals of the World Cup two years ago.
Those were the only 15 minutes of play time Draxler got in Brazil, but he looks set for a bigger role in France, most likely as a starter on the left wing after the injury to compatriot Marco Reus.
He tore Real Madrid to shreds when Wolfsburg beat the Spanish giants 2-0 in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-finals in April.
A brilliant dribbler blessed with pace and a booming shot, he may turn out to be Germany's secret weapon.
International caps: 3
Valued at £40 million ($77.6m), Sane is set to be at the centre of a transfer tussle between English Premier League clubs after Euro 2016, with the two Manchester giants reported to be keen.
He is most comfortable on the right wing, although he is also capable of playing anywhere across a front three, or as a support striker.
He has the ball control to complement his speed, and also the rare ability to inject excitement on the terraces whenever he touches the ball.
Club: Borussia Dortmund
International caps: 1
Even at a club as prolific as Dortmund in terms of unveiling young stars, no one saw Weigl coming.
Just months after joining them from 1860 Munich early last summer, he was already a key player for Thomas Tuchel's side.
The defensive midfielder's maturity is rare for a player his age.
He is confident enough to constantly ask for the ball, possesses an acute sense of positioning and distributes the ball superbly.
His assured performances in the Champions League suggest that he won't be overawed if given the chance by Loew.
International caps: 14
The left back is a late bloomer by comparison, making his international debut at age 24.
There is nothing spectacular about his play, but he is incredibly reliable.
So reliable that he played the most for Germany in 2015.
He started as a playmaker and later turned into a defensive midfielder. A footballer who reads the game well, he is one of the first names on Loew's teamsheet.
He enjoys keeping a low profile, but may find that hard if he shines over the next four weeks.
Club: Bayern Munich
International caps: 1
He arrived at Bayern Munich from RB Leipzig as a midfielder, but was often used as a defender by Pep Guardiola.
After a crucial 0-0 away draw at Borussia Dortmund in March, Guardiola said of his young star: "I just love this kid. He has everything. He played an outstanding game."
Kimmich is solid centre back with style.
His versatility - he also played in all positions across the back four and as a holding midfielder for his club - means he will likely get a chance in France.
"We are aware that the group phase won’t be a piece of cake. Starting with the Ukraine game, we have to go flat out and be fully concentrated at all times in all the group games."
- Germany coach Joachim Loew
BY THE NUMBERS
This is Germany's 12th appearance at a European Championship, more than any other team. They have won it three times (in 1972, 1980 and 1996), which is the most alongside Spain (1964, 2008 and 2012).