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Germany - Portugal Preview: Seleccao out to avenge Euro 2008 quarter-final defeat in Group B clash
Cristiano Ronaldo & Co. will be seeking revenge against Joachim Low's side for their elimination at the last eight stage four years ago when they face off on Saturday
By Karthick Arvinth
Boateng, Mertesacker, Badstuber, Lahm
Muller, Ozil, Podolski
Pereira, Pepe, Alves, Coentrao
Meireles, Veloso, Moutinho
Nani, Postiga, Ronaldo
Germany are expected to have a fully-fit squad for Saturday's encounter with Portugal in Lviv.
Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger did not feature in any of the pre-tournament friendlies due to a calf problem but has been declared fit, and will take his place in central midfield.
Captain Philipp Lahm will start at left-back, with his Bayern team-mate Jerome Boateng likely to get the nod over Lars Bender on the opposite flank, with the chosen player tasked with shackling Cristiano Ronaldo.
Portugal coach Paulo Bento should recall new Valencia signing Joao Pereira to the starting XI in place of Miguel Lopes at right-back, while Helder Postiga is vying for a starting berth in attack.
Winger Nani picked up a foot injury in the 3-1 friendly defeat against Turkey last Saturday but is expected to be fit, and will take his place on the right of a front three.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Germany have won just two of their last five matches (W2, D1, L2) heading into Euro 2012.
- The Mannschaft beat Luiz Felipe Scolari's Portugal 3-2 at the quarter-final stage of Euro 2008, en route to a 1-0 final defeat by Spain.
- Germany and Spain were the only teams to have a 100 per cent record in the qualifying phase, although the Germans played 10 games to the Spaniards' eight.
- Joachim Low's side were the second-highest scorers in qualifying, their 34 goals only three shy of the Netherlands.
- Portugal have won just one of their last six matches (W1, D3, L2).
- The Seleccao are meeting Germany for the 17th time, with their head-to head record reading W3, D5, L8.
- Three of Portugal's last five games have ended goalless. A 0-0 draw with Germany is 9/1 with bet365.
- Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured right) netted seven times in eight qualifiers, taking his international goals tally to 32, level with Luis Figo. Only Pauleta (47) and Eusebio (41) have scored more.
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Top 3 Predictions
Germany 3-1 Portugal
- 14.89 %
Germany 1-2 Portugal
- 14.6 %
Germany 2-1 Portugal
- 12.96 %
|Euro 2012 (EC)||Jun 9, 2012||Germany 1 - Portugal 0|
|UEFA European Championship (EC)||Jun 19, 2008||Portugal 2 - Germany 3|
|World Cup Qualification 2006 (WC)||Jul 8, 2006||Germany 3 - Portugal 1|
|Mar 26, 2013||Germany 4 - Kazakhstan 1||WCQ|
|Mar 22, 2013||Kazakhstan 0 - Germany 3||WCQ|
|Feb 6, 2013||France 1 - Germany 2||FR|
|Nov 14, 2012||Netherlands 0 - Germany 0||FR|
|Oct 16, 2012||Germany 4 - Sweden 4||WCQ|
|Returns:||Germany £21.00||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Draw £100.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Portugal £810.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
The combative midfielder has endured a rough patch at Bayern, where he was hampered by injuries and suffered a traumatizing defeat in the Champions League final against Chelsea. However, a fifth major tournament appearance with the national team gives him a chance to atone for those disappointments, and there are few players who can control the pace of the game as well as the 27-year-old.
The Real Madrid star has struggled to reproduce his club form for Portugal in major tournaments and has netted just twice in his last three international competitions (Euro 2008, World Cups 2006 & 2010). With the Seleccao lacking a quality centre-forward, Ronaldo will have to lead from the front when it comes to goalscoring, and there is the added incentive of reclaiming the Ballon d'Or he last won in 2008.
A frightening array of talent in midfield and attack means Germany are well worth their favourites tag for the tournament. With Europe's best player in their ranks, Portugal are clearly a strong side, but their midfield could well find itself overwhelmed by the hard running and directness of the Germans.