Simple plans for Germany against depleted Turkey

June 24th, 2008 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Basel, June 24 (DPA) Record champions Germany are favourites against heavily depleted Turkey in the semi-final of the Euro 2008 here Wednesday. Seeking a fourth European title, Germany coach Joachim Loew hinted that against Turkey his team will keep thing simple as they did during their 3-2 win over Portugal in the quarterfinal. A similar performance should see Germany through to a sixth European final, but Loew dismisses the role of favourites.

“The key is to keep our feet on the ground,” he said.

“We played a very good (quarter-final) match against Portugal and must reach the same level again. We have seen how strong the Turks have become in the tournament.”

Torsten Frings has recovered from a rib fracture to train with the side, but the Werder Bremen midfielder is not assured of a start.

Turkey coach Fatih Terim is struggling to get a side together following suspensions and injuries to key players.

Germany have an outstanding record of 11 wins and only four defeats in 17 games against the Turks, but have not won against them since 1992, with two defeats and a draw since.

Loew says his side will not underestimate a Turkish side which has turned looming defeat into victory in three straight games thanks to late goals.

The coach could retain the 4-2-3-1 system used against Portugal, rather than revert to the customary 4-4-2.

Simon Rolfes and Thomas Hitzlsperger played the holding midfield roles and could be retained if Loew decides against Frings.

“Frings is an important player. There is possibility that he returns. But there is also the possibility of ‘never change a winning team.’ He is a fighter, I am happy he is available,” said Loew.

Captain Michael Ballack has also spoken in favour of retaining the system.

“I have the feeling we are not going to mess up this game like we did against Croatia,” Ballack said, in a reference to Germany’s 2-1 defeat to the Croatians in the group stage.

Turkey are so decimated by injuries and suspensions that coach Terim suggested this week that deputy keeper Tolgan Zengin could even play outfield.

First-choice goalkeeper Volkan Demirel is serving the second part of a two-match ban following his dismissal against the Czech Republic, while Emre Asik, Arda Turan and Tuncay Sanli are also suspended.

Striker Nihat Kahveci has returned to Spain for treatment on a thigh injury, while Emre Gungor (calf) has been ruled out of the tournament as well. Also on the injury list are Servet Cetin, Tumer Metin and captain Emre Belozoglu.

Despite the missing players, striker Semih Senturk, who came off the bench to score Turkey’s equalizers against Switzerland and Croatia, said the team was confident of reaching Turkey’s first major tournament final.

“Everybody thinks Germany are favourites against us. But it is only motivating us even more,” he said.

After going behind in all their four games at the tournament, Turkey will be trying to make sure it did not happened again against the Germans, he said.

“We will be confident in ourselves against Germany,” Semih said. “We know what we have achieved and we are proud of it. I think Germany will have some fear playing against us, because it is a one-off match and the loser will be going home.”

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