The uncertainty over the true capabilities of the German team has dogged them throughout the tournament, and will follow it into Sunday's final against Spain. Goalkeeper Jens Lehmann embodies this insecurity as much as any other German player -- against Portugal in the quarterfinal he looked to be in the world-class form that won him the starter's spot at the 2006 World Cup. Against Turkey in the semifinal, he looked anything but clever on both Turkish goals.
"In football, everything levels out in the end," he told Michael Ashelm. "Class players get over
disappointments." He was referring to Phillip Lahm's recovery from his mistake that lead to Turkey's goal in the game's 86th minute, after which the defender picked himself up to go and score the
superb game-winner at the other end. However, says Ashelm, Lehmann might as well have been talking about himself.
"We Germans like to worry," said the keeper, turning philosophical.
"Otherwise we'd think something was missing." His team has certainly been keeping the German people guessing as to which kind of performance both he and his side will come up with in the final. Will
it be the hard-pressing, hard-working side that lethally strikes on the counter-attack, or will it be the lethargic, error-strewn team that rode its luck against Turkey, but scored at just the
right moments? "Sometimes," mused Lehmann, "it's enough to be just a little bit better than your opponents."