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Against Slovakia “it counts”

Full concentration

Joachim Löw’s focus is on the game against Slovakia. Photo: Ian Langsdon

(Photo: dpa)

Lille After Poland, Wales and Portugal, the football world champion would also like to move into the quarter-finals of the European Championship. And there is great confidence within the German national team that they can live up to their role as favorites against Slovakia in the evening (6 p.m.) in Lille.

“Now it counts. In the group phase you can allow yourself one or even two dropouts. Now it’s win or go home. We are ready,” said national coach Joachim Löw before the first knockout game.

BALANCE SHEET

Löw loves the all-or-nothing games. And the 56-year-old world champion coach has a good tournament record in the knockout rounds: nine wins versus just three defeats. “Now it’s all about the sausage,” said Cologne national defender Jonas Hector about the special flair of the games after the group phase. During Löw’s ten-year tenure, the German national team has always reached at least the semi-finals of European Championships and World Cups.

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Group B: Slovakia

PERSONAL

What will Joachim Löw change? Little to nothing is the prognosis. Especially since the national coach gave the ailing defense chief Jéomôme Boateng the green light for an assignment. “At the moment it looks like he can play,” said Löw on Saturday evening in Lille.

During the final training session, Boateng didn’t experience any problems with his calf. “The stress was good for him and necessary before the game,” said Loew. For the head coach there is actually no reason to change the winning team of the Northern Ireland game. Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger will probably remain a part-time employee.

OPPONENT

The Slovaks are aware of their outsider role. “We know that Germany is the big favourite. Not just in this game, but in the entire tournament,” said captain Martin Skrtel. But the team around top player Marek Hamsik from SSC Napoli senses his chance.

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