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We´ll beat Spain with or without Ballack, says Loew

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Jun 2008

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Germany coach Joachim Loew says he expects his side to beat Spain in Sunday night's Euro 2008 final in Vienna with or without their injured captain Michael Ballack.

The Chelsea midfielder is facing a desperate race against time to make the kick off at Vienna's Ernst Happel Stadium having damaged his right calf muscle in Germany's final training session on Friday.

Having scored two goals so far at Euro 2008, Ballack played a key role in helping his side reach the final, but Loew says his side can beat Spain who ever takes to the field.

He said: “I expect a win, of course, it's been a long, hard road and the tournament has taken up a lot of strength. But we will mobilise all our forces for the match to bring the trophy back to Germany.

“The Spaniards have been the most constant team here. They have shown consistent levels of performance, they are flexible regarding their positioning and they are sure of the passes they make.

“A lot of their players play in the Champions League, they are used to playing under intense pressure.”

After Spain hammered Russia 3-0 in Thursday night's semi-final, while Germany had to come from behind to beat Turkey 3-2 to make the final, midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger said his side must improve.

“We have to improve a lot of areas, we have to close Spain down early, because the worst thing you can do is let them have time on the ball,” said the former Aston Villa midfielder.

“We have to do that from the first minute and, if we do, we have a good chance of winning the game.”

With Ballack rated as 50-50 at best, Bayern Munich's Bastian Schweinsteiger or Werder Bremen's Tim Borowski may slot into the attacking midfielder role from where their captain has scored two goals so far at Euro 2008.

Although the team flew to Vienna on Saturday afternoon for Sunday's final at the Ernst Happel Stadium, Ballack stayed behind at the team hotel for treatment and a decision on whether he plays will be taken in the count-down to kick-off.

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