Ilkay Gundogan does not expect Brazil’s World Cup semi-final humiliation at the hands of Germany four years ago to have any bearing when the sides meet in Berlin on Tuesday.
Joachim Low’s men sensationally thrashed the host nation 7-1 on their way to glory at Brazil 2014.
Manchester City midfielder Gundogan played for Borussia Dortmund at the time and was ruled out of the tournament through injury, leaving him to watch on in shock with the rest of Germany as events unfolded at the Estadio Mineirao.
“We were all sitting in disbelief in front of the TV,” the 27-year-old recalled at a news conference on Sunday. “Such a result is not commonplace for a World Cup semi-final.
“The current Brazilian team is not comparable to that of 2014. The 7-1 is no longer an issue for us – just having the two sides play against each other is special.
“Brazil are definitely one of the favourites for the World Cup. The Brazilians are very emotional, and they hold football in such a high regard, it gives them such a zest for life and has an almost spiritual meaning for them.”
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) March 25, 2018
Gundogan was named in Low’s squad for Euro 2012 but did not make it off the bench during Die Mannschaft’s run to the semi-finals and, since then, wretched injury luck has denied the playmaker his chance to make an impression at a major tournament.
Following the back injury that sidelined him for almost all of the 2013-14 campaign and subsequent World Cup, Gundogan dislocated his kneecap to miss Euro 2016.
A cruciate knee ligament injury curtailed his debut campaign for City but he has been injury-free this time around and established himself as an increasingly important member of Pep Guardiola’s squad, who are on the verge of adding Premier League glory to last month’s EFL Cup success.
“I’m happy to be at a pretty good level so close to the tournament,” Gundogan added, having come off the bench during Friday’s 1-1 draw against Spain.
“I am fit and feel fit. I want to maintain that. If that means I make it to the World Cup then so be it.”
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