Monday, July 15, 2024

Rangnick expects ´exceptional´ Lewandowski to start for Poland

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 20 Jun 2024

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Ralf Rangnick insisted Austria will not change their tactics for Robert Lewandowski having missed Poland’s opening Euro 2024 fixture against the Netherlands.

The Barcelona striker, who is his nation’s all-time top scorer with 82 goals, did not feature in their 2-1 defeat in Hamburg having picked up a thigh injury in a pre-tournament friendly against Turkiye.

Despite his absence, both Rangnick and captain Marcel Sabitzer are preparing for the game with the assumption he will be on the pitch for Michal Probierz’s side on Friday.

“It doesn’t change our way of playing a lot, basically they will play the way they have been played. Lewandowski is the (main) player in Poland, everyone tries to pass to him, especially if they counter at speed,” Rangnick told reporters.

“In Munich, I had the joy of playing together with him for one year, therefore I know his qualities,” Sabitzer added on facing his former team-mate.

“I know he’s an exceptional player but for us as a team, when it comes to tactics, nothing will change.”

Austria, meanwhile, started their Group D campaign with a narrow defeat to tournament favourites France, and know a victory is a must to keep their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages alive.

“The team that wins tomorrow holds the good cards and has a good chance of going through to the next phase, so therefore it’s a game you have to win, that’s absolutely clear to us,” Rangnick said.

Sabitzer said his side was ready for the pressure that comes with a must-win game, saying: “We already said to each other that we want to win the match tomorrow, and Poland the same to each other internally.

“I think if we change those things (from the France game) if we follow our principles and are intense, and if we bring all that on the pitch, then we have a good chance of winning tomorrow.”

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