- Germany face France in Euro 2016 semi-final.
- Neuer and Co. have kept clean sheets in four of five matches.
- Müller searching for first goal at finals.
Aided and abetted by five of the Bundesliga's most gifted native talents, world champions Germany are daring to dream of a fourth UEFA European Championship crown.Ahead of Thursday's UEFA Euro 2016 semi-final against tournament hosts France at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille, bundesliga.com takes a closer look at the unfaltering quintet in question.
The world no.1: Manuel NeuerA rock-solid foundation for club and country, Manuel Neuer has kept more clean sheets at this summer's finals than any other goalkeeper (four). His solitary blot to the copybook came from the penalty spot against Italy, but was preceded by a tournament-leading run of 480 minutes without conceding. Should the FC Bayern München custodian repel France, he will equal Spain counterpart Iker Casillas' competition record of five shut-outs (EURO 2012).
The defensive rock: Jerome BoatengEnjoying pride of place in front of world football's undisputed no.1 stands the steeliest Bundesliga strut in the business, Jerome Boateng. The burly 27-year-old centre-back has been at his impregnable best of late and should prove more than a match for France's in-form centre-forward Olivier Giroud, while his impeccable ball-playing skills - he sits third in the attempted passes table on 411 - will give his opposite numbers plenty to think about.
The fearless rookie: Joshua KimmichGiroud will look to the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Dimitri Payet for support, but they will not have it any easier in the final third. Bayern's Joshua Kimmich has proven a revelation at right-back for Germany and has even earned comparisons with World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm on account of his no-frills defending and frequent forays into opposition territory. Only Vieirinha (23), Jonas Hector (30) and Darijo Srna (32) have put more crosses into the box than the exceptionally malleable 21-year-old (21).
The unsung hero: Jonas HectorHector's versatility has also served Germany head coach Joachim Löw exceedingly well. The 1. FC Köln representative has flourished up and down the left-hand side, and was one of the standout players on the pitch in the last-eight clash with Italy, setting up the opening goal for Mesut Özil and scoring the winning spot-kick in a heart-stopping penalty shootout.
The space invader with a point to prove: Thomas MüllerWhile Germany's newcomers share the plaudits, fans are still waiting for ever-present Bayern forward Thomas Müller to arrive. He has had four shots on target in France, sent seven wide and struck the woodwork twice, but his wait for a first European Championship goal goes on. With Die Mannschaft's only nominal striker Mario Gomez ruled out for the remainder of tournament through injury, the added responsibility could finally see the quirky Raumdeuter break his duck at the eleventh attempt. France's suspect back line are in for a rough ride in any case.