Germany determined to end poor Euro series: Ballack


Tenero (Switzerland) : Captain Michael Ballack said Germany were determined to win their first match at a European Championships for 12 years when they take on Poland Sunday.

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“The team is hot for taking home its first victory on Sunday,” Ballack said at the team’s base at Tenero in southern Switzerland Friday.

“You want to start with a win, to get a series going. We want to win this tournament. We are in a position that we can win against any team.”

Germany have never lost to Group B opponents Poland, but their recent Euro tournament is poor, with elimination at the group stages in both 2000 and 2004. The Germans’ last win goes back to the 1996 final against Czech Republic at Wembley.

“You always go into a tournament and say: We can break this negative series,” Ballack said.

The 31-year-old Chelsea midfielder warned against putting too much focus on attack during Sunday’s match at Klagenfurt, Austria.

Germany’s strong point had always been its defence as conceding as few goals as possible was a “question of survival” in today’s football, he said.

“Nothing is decided yet…One or the other position is still hard fought over,” Ballack said of the possible line-up.

On Thursday, Loew surprisingly indicated that Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger might not be a starter.

Friday’s training was again a closed session. Loew justified the secrecy by the “great strides” made by the Poles under Dutch coach Leo Beenhakker.

In 15 matches against Poland, Germany have won 11 and drew four. The last meeting was a late 1-0 victory in the group stage of the 2006 World Cup.

Assistant coach Hansi Flick stressed that Germany was going “calm and relaxed” into the game.

Ballack meanwhile said a controversial photo montage of coach Beenhakker brandishing the severed heads of Ballack and Loew published in a Polish tabloid had no place in football.

“Some say this is normal, but it is not nice seeing something like that about yourself or your coach,” he said. “On the contrary, this probably motivates us even more.”