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Lehmann writes off Germany

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Jun 2012

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Former Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann said it should be his country’s aim to merely escape the group stage at Euro 2012.

Lehmann – who famously represented European clubs Schalke, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal – was capped 61 times for Germany in goal, most notably being in goal for the majority of their run to third place at the 2006 World Cup on home soil.

He was also in goal for much of Germany’s run to the final at Euro 2008, when they were pipped 1-0 by Spain in Vienna.

The now 42-year-old has claimed that Germany should not harbour high hopes of progressing as deep into the continental tournament in Poland and Ukraine starting Friday, as they have had a stagnant lead-in.

“If Germany survive the group stage it would be a success. After a disrupted preparation, I do not see us as favourites to win the tournament, even though of course some have predicted so after our strong performances in 2011,” Lehmann wrote in his exclusive column for Goal.com.

“Why Bayern Munich players were given four days off after the Champions League final remains a mystery for me. In the final before the 2006 World Cup I was sent off. No-one really asked me how I felt and 36 hours later I was playing for the national team in Geneva.

“That the players had a short preparation time makes it very difficult to win the title this summer. Within the squad, with Bastian Schweinsteiger, Per Mertesacker, Miroslav Klose and Mario Gotze, there are players who are not fully fit, which is usually necessary to win a tournament.”

Lehmann, who sat on the bench for Germany’s 2002 World Cup campaign behind then-captain Oliver Kahn, said first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Neuer did not have adequate support should he pull up injured.

“There are plenty of questions remaining for Germany ahead of the opening fixture with Portugal on Saturday,” Lehmann continued.

“What will happen if Manuel Neuer is injured? Who will play?

“I have not seen him use his long throws, regarded as one of his strengths, for a long time. Normally a goalkeeper refrains from playing such passes when he is in pain. Should Neuer pick up an injury, Low would need a miracle to win the title.”

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