Germany coach Joachim Loew is confident his team will find a way through what he expects to be a wall of Greece players protecting their own penalty area in tonight’s Euro 2012 quarter-final.
The two nations meet in Gdansk with the Euro 2008 runners-up overwhelming favourites to beat the Euro 2004 winners, but Loew is anticipating it will be a lot tighter than the bookmakers suggest.
He does not expect his side to suffer the same fate as France did at this stage eight years ago, but is not taking anything for granted either.
“It will be a tight affair as it is a quarter-final, but one thing we won’t do is under-estimate the Greeks,” he said.
“It will be important to find a killer instinct if we get few chances.
“We are going to have to be patient against deep-defending Greeks with nine men on the edge of their area, but we will find ways to break through.”
Germany’s final Group B game against Denmark was the perfect warm-up for this last-eight tie in Gdansk, according to the Germany coach.
The Germans won that game 2-1, but it was a game which was on a knife-edge until a late Lars Bender strike took Low’s side through with a perfect group record.
Learning from that match, Loew suggests a more positive approach from the whistle could help his side.
“We did not really take our chances early on against Denmark and we had problems after that,” he said.
“Look at our games against England or Argentina at the 2010 World Cup – we took an early lead and that opened the game up as they had to throw men forwards.”
If Germany cannot unlock the Greek defence early on, though, Low will not panic.
“You are not going to see me nervous,” he said. “I may be animated and enjoy our good passes and get angry with the bad ones, but we need to be patient.
“I don’t think the fans are going to think ’wow, what a game’ with both sides going all out for a win, as was maybe the case against Holland.
“Greece’s priority will be to keep a clean sheet.”
Former Bochum, Bayer Leverkusen, Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt striker Theofanis Gekas will be Greece’s target man, and he insists the onus will be on Germany.
“Of course Germany are favourites from the start, also for the title, but they have to prove why over 90 or 120 minutes,” said Gekas, who will not shave off his beard out of superstition for as long as Greece remain in the tournament.
“We know the German mentality and it will be a tough game for both teams.”