Spain played their opening Euro
2012 game without a striker and Barcelona have often operated
without a centre-forward in recent years but that position is
far from extinct, according to Germany manager Oliver Bierhoff.
Once a dangerous target man himself, who scored the winning
goal in Germany's last European title in 1996, Bierhoff shrugged
off the debate about whether there was a future for that
"I think that in the box there should always be a dangerman.
Watching the games for high up here, I am happy to see teams
being successful with a centre forward," the former Germany
international told reporters on Saturday.
The Germans, taking on Denmark in their last Group B game on
Sunday as they look reach the last eight, have benefited greatly
from the services of their own centre forward Mario Gomez who
has scored all their goals in the tournament.
"I feel I have to defend my own position," Bierhoff said
with a hearty laugh. "Football develops and I think about what
will come after Barcelona. What comes after Barcelona?
"We all talk about Barcelona now... but the trends change
because otherwise AC Milan of the late 1980s would still be the
most successful team."
AC Milan dominated European football during that period,
winning the European Cup in 1989 and 1990.
Spain's Barcelona have won the Champions League twice in the
last four season relying largely on the goal-scoring ability of
Argentine forward Lionel Messi who is as lethal outside the box
as he is in front of goal.
"But if you look at Barcelona you will see that they were
eliminated by Inter Milan  and Chelsea , both times
against teams with a very tight defence leaving very little
space in the centre," Bierhoff said.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque raised eyebrows when he
fielded a team without a striker in their opening 1-1 draw
against Italy at Euro 2012.
He quickly rowed back in their next game, starting with
striker Fernando Torres who scored twice for the world and
European champions in their 4-0 demolition of Ireland.
England coach Roy Hodgson also reverted to a traditional
4-4-2 formation to snatch a brave 3-2 victory over Sweden and
their opening goal was a classic centre-forward's header from
Bustling Croatia front-man Mario Mandzukic has also enjoyed
a successful tournament with three goals in two games.
"Football has become faster... I often feel that someone is
missing in the centre of the opponents' defence," said Bierhoff.
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