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Rolfes: Leverkusen must play with freedom

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Jun 2012

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Bayer Leverkusen’s Simon Rolfes want his team to draw on their impressive finish to last season when the new Bundesliga campaign begins.

Leverkusen were unbeaten in their final six matches on 2011/12, but were unable to secure Champions League qualification, with Borussia Moenchengladbach claiming fourth place.

The squad reported back for their first session of pre-season training on Monday, and midfielder Rolfes wants his team-mates to pick up where they left off when 2012/13 begins.

“This year I think we don’t need to target particular goals to reach,” he said.

“We should rather try to play as we did in the last few games of the last season.

“Then we will be playing in a successful way. Where this may lead would be too early to state.”

Leverkusen are without Andre Schurrle and Lars Bender this week, with the pair on Germany international duty at Euro 2012.

Joachim Loew’s side are preparing for a semi-final on Thursday against Italy, a country Germany have never beaten in seven meetings at UEFA and FIFA tournaments.

“For me personally, we (Germany) are the favourite to win,” Rolfes said.

“But the record against the Italians is a special one. If you consider the way Andrea Pirlo took the penalty yesterday – they are cool,” he added, referring to the Juventus midfielder’s chipped effort in the quarter-final shootout against England.

“It will be a difficult game. But still, I think we are the favourites to win.”

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