Patience key for Germany team against Greece

A day before their European Championship quarterfinal against

Greece, the one thing on German minds was patience.

Both coach Joachim Loew and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer believe

composure will be the key to success. The Germans expect Greece to

erect a defensive wall in front of its goal. Breaking it down will

need a lot of hard work, while taking care not to be exposed to

counterattacks.

Loew says one thing his players won’t do is underestimate

Greece, the surprise winner of Euro 2004. While Friday’s match in

Gdansk has also attracted attention because of its political

backdrop, Loew stuck to football matters.

The coach was happy to be spared the stress of traveling, since

the Germans have been based outside Gdansk for the tournament.

”We are feeling good and looking forward to playing a ‘home’

game,” Loew told reporters Thursday. ”We have a short way to the

stadium.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to attend the match and

her presence could anger Greek fans. Germany, Europe’s biggest

economy, has been a major contributor to international bailouts for

Greece and was instrumental in demanding structural reforms and

hugely unpopular spending cuts in return.

Loew said the team had no injuries and that midfielder Bastian

Schweinsteiger would play despite not training at full speed over

the last two days because of an ankle injury. Right back Jerome

Boateng is likely to return after serving a one-match suspension

but Loew, as usual, would not disclose other details about his

lineup.

”We create chances and we’ll get them against Greece, but we’ll

have to run a lot,” said Loew, whose team is seeking a record

fourth title. ”When you have 10 men behind the ball, it’s going to

be difficult to penetrate. We are going to be biting granite and

we’ll need patience.”

Greece upset Russia 1-0 to advance to the quarterfinals. Loew

said scoring an early goal would give his team some security.

”We’ll a need a certain killer instinct,” Loew said.

The Greeks have six players with Bundesliga experience and Neuer

singled out Fanis Gekas as a dangerous striker with poaching

skills.

”He’s got a nose for being in the right place at the right

time,” Neuer said.

Greece will be missing playmaker and captain Giorgos Karagounis

through suspension.

”Whoever plays for him will be just as motivated, but his

absence could hurt Greece,” Loew said.