Germany look to toughfight as Euro approaches

1st June 2004, Comments 0 comments

1 June 2004 , HAMBURG - Germany's 7-0 victory over Malta in a friendly last week may have given no real indication about the state of Rudi Voeller's team but the impressive win has certainly helped to raise team spirits after the recent 5-1 demolition by Romania. By Wednesday evening, however, Voeller should know whether his charges have any chance of causing a stir at Euro 2004 when Germany takes on fellow finalists Switzerland in Basle. "This (match) will be a real indication of where we are," said Germa

1 June 2004

HAMBURG - Germany's 7-0 victory over Malta in a friendly last week may have given no real indication about the state of Rudi Voeller's team but the impressive win has certainly helped to raise team spirits after the recent 5-1 demolition by Romania.

By Wednesday evening, however, Voeller should know whether his charges have any chance of causing a stir at Euro 2004 when Germany takes on fellow finalists Switzerland in Basle.

"This (match) will be a real indication of where we are," said Germany striker Fredi Bobic at the team's press conference Monday.

Michael Ballack was the hero against the Maltese when he joined striking legend Gerd Mueller as the only player since World War II to score four goals in game for the national team.

The Bayern Munich midfielder is not surprisingly believed to be a target for Spanish giants Barcelona and it's safe to say that Germany's hopes at Euro 2004 depend on the 26-year-old maintaining such form.

At the team's press conference Voeller said he was happy with the atmosphere in the squad. "You notice the players are eager. The fight for a place has begun," he said.

Voeller also admitted that Germany under-21 internationals Bastian Schweinsteiger, 19, and Lukas Podolski, 18, will be surprise inclusions to Germany's Euro squad, which will be named after the Swiss game on Wednesday.

Until now, uncapped Cologne striker Podolksi and Bayern midfielder Schweinsteiger were seen more as part of Germany's future but barring injuries the pair now seem certain to be on their way to Portugal after Voeller said Monday that their lack of experience was "not a limitation".

Both players now seemingly only have to escape injury when they play in the German U-21 team's European Championship group game against Portugal Wednesday.

Schweinsteiger replaces the injured Paul Freier of VfL Bochum in the squad. "He can play in all positions in central midfield. He fulfills the requirements," said Voeller, explaining his decision.

Switzerland, meanwhile, will be without striker Marco Streller after the VfB Stuttgart striker suffered a broken leg in a collision with Basel defender Marco Zwyssig while training with the national team on Sunday.

The 22-year-old's forced absence from coach Jakob Kuhn's Euro squad means Servette's Leonard Thurre and Milaim Rama of FC Thun should both make it to Portugal.

Kuhn will also name his final 23-man squad after Wednesday's game.

 DPA

Subject: German news

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