History on Germany′s Side Ahead of Euro 2008 Final | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 29.06.2008
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History on Germany's Side Ahead of Euro 2008 Final

Germany has respect for Spain's classy game but hopes to have history and the game plan on its side when the teams meet in the Euro 2008 final on Sunday in Vienna.

Andreas Moeller is fouled during the Germany-Croatia match at Euro 96

Germany appear in their first Euro final since 1996 but are experienced with big games

Torsten Frings declared himself fully fit again as Joachim Loew's team trained for the last time in their southern Swiss camp before flying to Austria on Saturday.

"I know Spain has a lot of respect for us," defender Christoph Metzelder, who earns his money at Spanish champions Real Madrid, told a final news conference in Tenero.

"They have a lot of quality but this is a final. There you need special qualities and we have some of them."

Germany is the most successful team in Euro history with three titles and two further finals. Spain, by contrast, won way back in 1964 and had not gone beyond the quarters since 1984.

Metzelder praised Spain's consistency in the tournament and team manager Oliver Bierhoff named them light favorites.

But the Germans say they have good reason for optimism as well.

A mixture of their proverbial luck and the determination never to give up saw them win 3-2 against Turkey in the semi-finals although they played below par on Wednesday.

Six days earlier Germany had a classy performance in a 3-2 quarter-final win over Portugal.

Germany face similar challenge to Portugal quarter-final

Spain's Xavi Hernandez celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during the semifinal match between Russia and Spain

Xavi Hernandez is a key player in Spain's midfield

The German camp expects a very similar game to the Portugal tie on Sunday and is set to pack the midfield to deny Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta in the same way it did with Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo and company.

"We must fight back as a team, not allow them into the game. The Spaniards don't like it if we fight back aggressively. We must try that and then play our own game," said Frings.

Bierhoff, who scored both goals when Germany won the Euro 1996 title against the Czech Republic, agreed: "You can not give them space -- we must be close to them like against Portugal."

The best news for Germany is that Frings has overcome his cracked rib and is expected to play as a starter in place of Simon Rolfes, although coach Joachim Loew is yet to announce the lineup.

Frings joins a midfield which also includes captain Michael Ballack, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Thomas Hitzlsperger and possibly also Lukas Podolski as against Portugal and Turkey - unless he is moved forward again to partner Miroslav Klose.

"I feel really well, hardly have any problems. I am surprised how well it went," Frings said in reference to have played the second half against Turkey when Rolfes got injured.

"A coach Frings would definitely field the player Frings because I showed it doesn't hamper me."

Bierhoff and the players named the final a unique experience in which the team would not let itself and the country down.

Germans focused on chance of a lifetime

Christoph Metzelder on the Real Madrid bench

Real Madrid's Metzelder, pictured here center and without his current beard, is Germany's insider

"You realize the tension is there. It is a big match for a title, the team is very focused. You don't get many chances to play for a title," said Metzelder, the only expected starter who was also on the pitch when Germany lost the 2002 World Cup final to Brazil.

"We are competitive on Sunday. We can become European champions."

Bierhoff said: "The motivation for the final is high. It is important to have courage. The players must show heart and give it all they have. We demand concentration and dedication, the rest you can't influence."

Looking ahead at a presentation before the German fans on Monday in Berlin, Frings said the team did not want to meet the supporters empty-handed like in 2006 when Germany came in third at the World Cup.

"This time we want to hold something in the air. Something was missing in 2006. This time we want to show more than a t-shirt saying 'thank you,'" Frings said.

German team to celebrate with fans -- win or lose

The German team will come to Berlin on Monday to celebrate with the fans - regardless if they win or lose the Euro 2008 final with Spain.

"It is very important to have the team celebrated in Germany," Oliver Bierhoff said on Friday.

Jogi Loew, captain Michael Ballack and the rest of the team are expected to arrive in the early afternoon on Monday from Vienna, where Sunday's final takes place.

German riot police officers stand in the crowed of German and Turkish soccer fans at the ' Fan-Mile' , a public viewing zone in central Berlin

Germany will be met by a huge crowd - even on a work day

The presentation takes place at the fan zone in front of the Brandenburg Gate, where 500,000 people had gathered on Wednesday to watch Germany's semi-final win over Turkey. A similar sized crowd is expected to watch the final there.

Germany also chose the Berlin fan area to celebrate its third- place finish at the 2006 home World Cup, then drawing 1.5 million people. The Euro fan zone is smaller than the one from the World Cup.

Bierhoff said: "We know it’s a work day but we hope that employers and schools will allow us to have a big crowd."

Bierhoff said that the DFB will also stage various events for fans at an international match later this year.

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