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Euro ´96 hero Bierhoff says Germans will be fear-free

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 27 Jun 2008

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Oliver Bierhoff, whose golden goal won Euro '96, says Germany must approach Sunday's Euro 2008 final against Spain without fear as the Germans bid to win a fourth European title.

The 40-year-old Germany manager scored the winner in extra-time against the Czech Republic at Wembley in 1996 and the ex-AC Milan striker expects the Germans to attack Luis Aragones's Spain in Vienna.

Defender Philipp Lahm put Germany in the final with a 90th-minute winner to see off Turkey 3-2 in Basel's semi-final on Wednesday, but his side had to come from behind after a lack-lustre first half.

Only in their 3-2 quarter-final win over Portugal have Germany impressed and Bierhoff expects his side must be less tense in the final than in their shock group stage defeat to Croatia or the narrow win over Austria.

“The players need to approach the final in a positive mental state without fear,” said Bierhoff.

“Against Croatia, Turkey and Austria, the players were nervous and almost cramped up through fear of losing to a so-called 'minor nation'.

“Hopefully they can now be liberated against Spain and play the way we know they can.”

After Spain crushed Russia 3-0 in Thursday night's Vienna semi-final, the Spanish start Sunday's final as favourites to win their first title since 1964, but Bierhoff fails to see Germany as under-dogs.

He said: “Under-dogs would be an exaggeration.

“We have some excellent players, who can show all their skills, but if you think how Spain have fared, maybe you must rate Spain a little higher than us.”

The Germans will be looking to close down an impressive Spanish attack which sliced through the Russian's defence.

“Generally speaking, the Spanish players and league as a whole, put great store at being comfortable on the ball,” said Bierhoff.

“All of their team are capable of that defence-splitting pass, if you leave them alone and give them the time and space to pass the ball, you are in trouble.

“We must close them down, work hard to limit their space and not stand back.”

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