Team news ahead of the European Championships 2012 Group B clash between Germany and Portugal (kick off 7.45pm)
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The proverbial group of death throws up two excellent encounters on Saturday with Holland and Denmark doing battle in the early kick-off before European big guns Portugal and Germany met in the evening clash.
Germany are amongst the favourites for the tournament and they will be looking for a good start to consolidate that tag with a strong opening performance.
Results so far this year have not gone to plan for Germany with France and Switzerland managing to beat Joachim Low’s side however the German’s finally claimed their maiden win of 2012 when they beat Israel 2-0 on the eve of the tournament.
The manner of their victory was not convincing but it has now raised too many eyebrows with bookies and pundits alike who have instead focused on their qualifying form, which saw 10 wins from 10 in a group that contained Turkey, Belgium and Austria.
Portugal meanwhile finished runner’s up in their qualifying group to Denmark, who they will meet in their second group game.
Portugal will be looking to the mercurial talents of Ronaldo to inspire with the former Manchester United star heading to Poland on the back of a 46 goal La Liga winner season with Real Madrid.
Low has insisted that Sebastian Schweinsteiger and striker Miroslav Klose are both fit for the game and available to start, although Klose is facing a battle with Mario Gomez to start alongside the attacking trio of Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and Arsenal bound Lukas Podolski.
Per Mertesacker is a slight doubt after suffering an injury in training, despite the doubts over the Arsenal defender, Germany assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick has confirmed that that they have 23 fully fit players with the final XI set to be revealed before the kick off “We have alternatives in our mind and we will decide when we are certain,” he said.
Nani is a major doubt after he suffered a foot injury in Portugal’s pre tournament 3-1 friendly loss to Turkey.
Portugal boss Paulo Bento confirmed the Manchester United winger has been training with the side during the week and looks to take some part in the match saying “Nani trained yesterday and tomorrow, he will do another training session and then we will evaluate his condition,”
Germany: Neuer; Boateng, Badstuber, Mertesacker, Lahm; Khedira,Schweinsteiger; Muller, Ozil, Podolski; Gomez
Portugal: Patricio; Lopes, Alves, Pepe, Coentrao; Veloso, Meireles; Nani,Moutinho, Ronaldo; Almeida