Germany coach Joachim Löw is wary of the potential threat possessed by their underdog opponents Turkey in their Euro 2008 semi-final on Wednesday, saying his side's chances are 50-50 and no more...Both sides have made it to where they are against the odds, having each finished second in their group and having to overcome sides that looked in better form to get where they are.
In Germany's case, though, it was somewhat inevitable, as they are usually there or thereabouts at the business end of major international tournaments. Coach Joachim Löw is pleased with proceedings in his first ever tournament in charge of the side since taking over from Jürgen Klinsmann, but admits that all of the four sides left in the 16-team competition have the capability of going all the way, despite Turkey being the only one to have never won the competition, with Germany record three-time winners and Russia (then USSR) winning the first ever edition in 1960 and their opponents Spain the second in 1964.
"For a coach, it is something very special to be in a semi-final with your team. You don't experience this every day," said Löw, before pointing out his side were the only ones to have made it to the semi-finals of both the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008.
World champions Italy lost to Spain in the quarterfinals, runners-up France failed to survive the Group of Death and Portugal were taken out by Germany in their quarterfinal, that of course being a re-match of the World Cup's third place play-off. "We are the only side from the semi-finals in 2006 to have reached the semis here. That speaks for continuity and good work.
"Having everyone involved helps to increase the excitement ahead of the semi-final.
"Every team that are in the semis have proved their class over a number of games.
"The Turkish are euphoric and consequently dangerous once they get going. That's why we have to be careful. For me, they are much more unpredictable than the Portuguese. It's 50-50.
"We've seen how long they keep pushing before winning games. Therefore we have to concentrate fully until the final whistle regardless of the score.
"They always come back when nobody expects it, but we're aware of this and will take measures to prevent it. We want to do everything we can to reach the final and certainly won't be careless in our preparations."
Löw also faces a tactical dilemma, admitting 4-4-2 is his favoured formation, but having witnessed 4-5-1 overpower Portugal in Germany's best performance of the tournament so far.
"I've always considered 4-4-2 my favourite formation but we did well with 4-5-1 against Portugal," said the coach, before concluding that the formation is secondary to the individual tactical contributions from each player.
"We just have to find the right way to unlock the Turkish defence. No matter what formation we play, it's important we get our running patterns and movement off the ball right. If we do that, the question of the formation is secondary."
Hans Schmidt, Goal.com