The Euro 2008 Group B clash between Germany and Poland promises to be a heated event, based on the atmosphere in the media these past few days.
A Polish magazine published a picture of Poland manager Leo Beenhakker holding chopped off heads of two German players, which was then widely covered by German media.
Beenhakker himself ended the row by apologizing to the German people and thereby restoring the relative peace.
But that peace will soon be over when kick-off takes place at 20:45 local time. The Germans will be looking to make a good start to their tournament and actually reach the second round for the first time since 1996.
In 2000, both Germany and England were knocked out by Portugal and Romania in the group phase and four years later, the Germans couldn’t get past the Czech Republic and the Dutch to reach the next phase.
The match will be special to Lukas Podolski, who was in fact born in Poland. The forward is confident: “Poland are a compact team with a good coach, but if we play at 100% and work hard I am sure we will win.”
Podolski is one of three German players to be born in Poland, with Miroslav Klose and Piotr Trochowski.
Poland have been having to deal with some bad news this week. Attacking midfielder Jakub Blaszcykowski had an old thigh injury return at the wrong moment and had to be ruled out for this tournament.
And on Friday, it was announced that reserve goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak would be unable to play due to a back injury.
Lukasz Piszczek and Lukasz Fabianski have been called up to replace the two injured players.
Germany and Poland also met at the World Cup two years ago. Germany then won thanks to a very late goal from Oliver Neuville.
Norwegian Tom Henning Ovrebo will be the referee for the match played in Klagenfurt, with Geir Age Holen and Jan Petter Randen acting as assistants. Craig Thomson of Scotland is the fourth official.
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I think the Germans will win this. But they won’t have it easy. The Germans will need to slog it out against the Poles! 🙂