Lars Bender likely to play against Ronaldo

Lars Bender likely to play against Ronaldo

Published Jun. 7, 2012 3:28 p.m. ET

Germany coach Joachim Loew indicated on Thursday that midfielder Lars Bender might take on the right back role to face Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo when the two teams open their European Championship campaign in Lviv.

Though Bender has never played at right back for his club Bayer Leverkusen, he took over the role during Germany's Euro 2012 training for Saturday's game against the Portuguese.

''I've liked a lot what I've seen in training, Lars Bender could do it well,'' Loew said.

Jerome Boateng was tipped to be the right back but Loew said he was upset over recent photographs and stories about the Bayern Munich defender. Boateng was photographed with a model at a Berlin airport hotel in the early hours of Monday, before flying to join the team in Frankfurt for the trip to Poland.


''Of course, it's his fault. I didn't like what he did at the weekend. It's his time off, but to do it on the night from Sunday to Monday was not right,'' Loew said.

Loew did not commit himself during a news conference, but he spent a lot of time praising Bender and criticizing Boateng.

The coach stressed that no decision had been made yet. Loew probably was toying with the idea to play Bender even before, since he is faster that Boateng and could therefore have more of a chance against the speedy Ronaldo.

''Bender has incredible potential, it gives me a good feeling,'' the coach said. ''I said before the tournament that a few players could find themselves playing in different positions.''