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Favorites Germany Arrive and Go Straight into Hiding

The red carpet was rolled out for three-time champion Germany's arrival at Euro 2008 on Tuesday, June 3. But the team soon disappeared behind specially erected barriers to start plotting their tournament campaign.

Giant poster portraying German players, from left, Michael Ballack, Lukas Podolski, Tobias Schweinsteiger Kevin Kuranyi and coach Joachim Loew are seen at the training site of the German national soccer team in Tennero near Ascona, Switzerland

Germany will train behind specially designed barriers to prevent spying

Only a handful of fans and media were on hand when coach Joachim Loew, captain Michael Ballack and the other players and officials checked into their five-star hotel on the Lago Maggiore.

Locals and Euro fans are not likely to see more of the team as training sessions are behind closed doors and the hotel complex is "guarded tighter than a fortress," according to one local policeman.

After all, the Germans did not arrive in Switzerland on Tuesday to please the fans but rather to put the finishing touches on the preparations for the June 7-29 Euro tournament in Austria and Switzerland which is to bring a fourth continental title.

A first training session was held later Tuesday as Loew is wasting no time with just five days left before the team's group B opener with Poland. Croatia and Austria are the other group teams.

"We have to work concentrated and focused every day," said Loew.

Germany displaying typical focus

Germany's head coach Joachim Loew

Loew's players will be well drilled before Euro 2008 begins

True to the motto of the team bus - "Germany - one team - one aim," Loew has eight training sessions left to get his team in shape.

All players had two days off after a 2-1 win against Serbia on Saturday in Gelsenkirchen which came after a first training phase of two weeks on the Spanish holiday island of Majorca.

"All players should be well rested after the two-day break," said Loew.

The main focus is the Poland match with Loew ready to rely on the team's Swiss scout Urs Siegenthaler.

"We will gather the latest information about Siegenthaler on Wednesday and Thursday. Then we will pass the most important issues to the team," said Loew.

Loew still to decide on attacking options

Germany's Lukas Podolski, Thomas Hitzlsberger, Roberto Hilbert, Miroslav Klose react after the fourth goal for Germany during the Group D Euro 2008 qualifying soccer match between Germany and Cyprus in Hanover, northern Germany, on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2007.

While Loew appears to know most members of his starting lineup he must still make up his mind whether to field Lukas Podolski as forward along with Bayern Munich team-mate Miroslav Klose or on the left wing where he has also done well in recent games.

But Loew refused to discuss the issue: "We won't reveal anything. We will try out a few options."

German training takes place at a sports school in Tenero behind a specially erected barrier to deter spies.

As a result, the German presence in this southern Swiss is only visible through giant posters of Loew and the players, German flags and a plastic cow painted in Germany's black, red and gold.

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