Muller nurses no great hopes

Muller nurses no great hopes

At least, that is what he would have us believe. The German captain feels his young team needs another year to become a solid combination, becoming a real threat by the 2012 Olympic Games.

“Germany are always one of the favourites for the title, but I feel the team is not experienced enough to win the title here,” said Muller.

Germany, champions in 2002 and 2006, went for a complete overhaul after their 2006 triumph. Just three players – Matthias Witthaus, Mortiz Furste and Jan-Marco Montag -- from that team feature in the bunch under coach Markus Weise here, but significantly, nine from the current lot was part of the Olympic gold medal-winning squad at Beijing.
That is some experience but Muller still looks at the tournament as an opportunity to learn and improve. “The goal is always to do your best and the start is very important. If we can start well, we can look forward to making an impact,” he said and brushed aside talks of a hat-trick.

“Winning back-to-back titles and such things are not that important. It is important to improve, take your game forward; this young team will be good in time for the 2012 Olympic Games,” he said, while tipping Australia for the title.

“Aussies are certainly the favourites here. They have a strong team and their players have been playing together for three to five years but they haven’t won many big titles. But now, you can see the desire to win in their eyes. They are the team to beat here.”
Germany will be without one of their key players, Christopher Zeller, who slotted in the winning goals at both the last World Cup and the Olympic Games. Muller admitted that it would be a blow. “He is studying to become a lawyer and he has exams coming up. He has to finish his course within a certain age; that is why he is not here. In Germany, you have to choose between working and playing hockey, which is not very financially rewarding,” he said.

The German captain felt winning World Cups and Olympic gold with different teams showed the depth of talent in the country.

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