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Germany v Ukraine: Schurrle ready for any role

Andre Schurrle is ready and willing to take on any role in Germany’s Euro 2016 opener against Ukraine at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille on Sunday.

Wolfsburg forward Schurrle featured as a substitute in three of Germany’s qualifying matches for the European Championship.

The 25-year-old also came on from the bench during the world champions’ warm-up fixtures against Slovakia – a 3-1 defeat – and Hungary, which they won 2-0.

With just one recognised striker in the squad in Mario Gomez, Joachim Low is expected to fluidly interchange his forward line.

That will not be a problem for Schurrle, who is willing to do whatever he can when called upon by coach Joachim Low.

“Regardless of what role I play, I’m ready,” he said at a media conference on Friday.

“We’re well prepared and are excited that it’s finally about to begin. Our weeks of preparation have gone well and we’ve also worked hard here in France.

“We’re all used to late kick-offs as it’s the same in the Champions League. It’s not a big issue. We know how to act, how everything runs and when to switch on.”

Having failed to shine in their warm-up fixtures, Julian Draxler acknowledged Germany need to improve.

The Wolfsburg midfielder also moved to allay any concerns over his fitness having only made three appearances for club and country since April.

“We haven’t yet performed to our absolute best,” he said. “I’m not worried though. We’ll be at our highest possible level when the tournament starts.

“I focused as quickly as possible on getting back into shape. I’ve worked on my comeback day and night and I believe that’s gone well.”

Germany assistant coach Thomas Schneider highlighted Andriy Yarmolenko and Yevhen Konoplyanka as Ukraine’s key threat during a media conference on Thursday.

The pacey duo combined for a goal each in the 4-3 win against Romania on May 29 and were both on target in the 3-1 win over Albania, sending the eastern Europeans into the competition full of confidence.

But, while Mykhailo Fomenko’s team are unbeaten in their last six matches, they have failed to secure a victory against Germany in five attempts.

Their task may be made slightly easier with the participation of Germany duo Mats Hummels and Bastian Schweinsteiger still uncertain.

Centre-back Hummels has been unable to train with his team-mates due to a calf injury, and, although he is moving towards a return to fitness, his availability for Sunday remains unclear.

Jonathan Tah, a late call-up to the squad after Antonio Rudiger suffered a cruciate ligament injury, could subsequently be in line to feature in defence.


Key Opta stats:
– Nine of the last 13 goals in games between Germany and Ukraine have been scored before half-time.
– This is Germany’s 12th European Championship appearance, more than any other team. They have won it three times (1972, 1980, 1996), the most alongside Spain (1964, 2008, 2012).
– Germany have never lost their opening game at the Euros (W6 D5).
– This is Ukraine’s second appearance at the finals. However, it’s the first time they have qualified for the tournament (they were co-hosts in 2012).
– Joachim Low has taken charge of 11 games as manager at the European Championship, the joint-most alongside Berti Vogts. He has led Germany since 2006, the longest current tenure among managers who made it to Euro 2016.

Fri 10 Jun, 2016
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