Germany needs swift improvement ahead of Euro 2008: BallackMarch 26th, 2008 - 12:18 pm ICT by admin
Basle (Switzerland), March 26 (DPA) Germany needs to improve swiftly after recent mediocre showings if it wants to be a factor at Euro 2008 football, captain Michael Ballack said on the eve of friendly with co-hosts Switzerland. “We need a team which is top fit and can play together. That is not the case right now. I hope that it will change by Euro,” the Chelsea midfielder told a news conference Tuesday.
Ballack said that a turnaround must come Wednesday to boost morale.
“It is the last major test. Every country wants to show ambitions it has,” Ballack said.
Germany are record Euro winners with three titles, but won not a single match at the finals in 2000 and 2004 after lifting the trophy in 1996.
Coach Joachim Loew’s team qualified early for the tournament in Austria and Switzerland, and it was then followed by a 3-1 home defeat against the Czech Republic, a meagre 0-0 with Wales and a 3-0 win in Austria after being outplayed in the first half.
A defeat against Switzerland could end the World Cup 2006 euphoria for good, Ballack seemingly fears. And the final match before Loew nominates the squad in May could highlight problems and injuries woes in the final countdown.
Number one goalkeeper Jens Lehmann is benched at his club Arsenal, defender Christoph Metzelder injured and midfielders Torsten Frings, Bernd Schneider and Bastian Schweinsteiger far from the form of 2006.
Loew said that Schweinsteiger is aware that “he must improve” while general manager Oliver Bierhoff expects “a good performance” from Lehmann in what he acknowledges is a problem factor in the team.
However, Bierhoff is optimistic in general about Germany’s chances at the 16-team event and Ballack’s leadership quality in particular.
“We want to reach the peak and become European champions. I am confident, I have faith in the team. He (Ballack) will lead the team in a big way and make his mark at Euro,” Bierhoff said.
- A young German team is one of the favourites (Group D team profile) - May 29, 2010
- Schweinsteiger fit as Germany seek early progress - Jun 17, 2010
- Loew stays on as Germany's coach until Euro 2012 - Jul 20, 2010
- Spain's midfield maestros playing on German minds - Jul 06, 2010
- Euro 2012: Germany take on Portugal in first top clash - Jun 08, 2012
- We are not the favourites: German soccer coach - Jun 02, 2012
- German coach rejects Euro 2012 criticism by media - Aug 14, 2012
- Schweinsteiger to miss Germany's World Cup qualifiers - Aug 31, 2012
- Schweinsteiger on spot for Germany after Podolski miss - Jun 20, 2010
- Lahm to skipper Germany at World Cup; Neuer is keeper - May 28, 2010
- Germany reveal provisional squad for Euro 2012 - May 08, 2012
- England's Lions seek to devour past demons against Germany - Jun 26, 2010
- Germans look to midfield artist formerly known as Schweini - Jun 11, 2010
- World Cup now "in our own hands", Germany's Loew says - Jul 04, 2010
- Loew is proud of his team but leaves his future open - Jul 11, 2010
Tags: basle switzerland, bastian, bernd schneider, captain michael, euphoria, euro 2008, european champions, final countdown, final match, football captain, jens lehmann, joachim loew, leadership quality, michael ballack, oliver bierhoff, showings, single match, switzerland march, top fit, world cup 2006