Germany enter Euro 2008 with plenty of confidence, but coach seeks fan support
The German team is determined to make a good start in Euro 2008 as they play against Poland. Fans' support is vital, however, warns coach Joachim LoewKlagenfurt -- Germany will enter their first Euro 2008 match against Poland determined to make an impression, coach Joachim Loew said on Saturday.
"We go into this game confident, full of belief and with a certain degree of boldness," Loew told a news conference after the team's arrival in the Austrian host city of Klagenfurt.
Midfielder Torsten Frings shared the optimism, saying ahead of the departure from the team's Swiss base camp: "We really believe that we can win the title. If not we shouldn't be here."
Germany have not won a Euro match since the 1996 final, which adds spice for Loew in his biggest match to date as head coach since being promoted from assistant as successor to Juergen Klinsmann after the 2006 World Cup.
But the coach was upbeat that victory will finally come again after six winless matches in first-round exits 2000 and 2004.
"We want to end this series as soon as possible."
"I believe that we have a team that is capable of winning this first match. If we perform to our capabilities then we will have a team that will take charge and dictate the rhythm," said Loew.
Loew refused to reveal his starting lineup as some uncertainty remains around the likes of Bayern Munich players Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski.
All that Loew was prepared to say was that "Schweinsteiger has improved compared to the beginning of the week."
It appears that Podolski will get the nod on the left wing instead of Schweinsteiger and that VfB Stuttgart's high-scoring Mario Gomez will partner Munich's Miroslav Klose up front.
This lineup, which features captain Michael Ballack and Frings as key midfielders, only underlines that Germany are out to attack from the outset and to spare themselves the nerves they suffered at the World Cup two years ago when they required an injury-time winner from Oliver Neuville to beat the Poles.
A good win would also send a clear warning to the other group opponents Austria and Croatia, and to the other teams as well, looking ahead to the June 29 final in Vienna.
Loew ultimately has his sights set on the title but also warned that "it is the toughest tournament in the world" with little separating the teams.
Germany held their final training session later behind closed doors, but Loew had earlier appealed to the German fans in an open letter published in several German dailies.
"Our team doesn't end with the shirt number 23. The millions of German fans are also part of it. We saw at the summer fairy tale 2006 (Germany's run to third place at the World Cup) what can be possible with enthusiasm and big support," said Loew.
"The Euro title must not remain a dream" if all parties involved seek the one common goal.
"Our mountain tour in the alpine countries of Austria and Switzerland is to have a happy ending-on June 29 in the Vienna final."