Koeppel: No Reason for Germany to Change Team, Strategy | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 25.06.2008
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Koeppel: No Reason for Germany to Change Team, Strategy

Veteran coach Horst Koeppel knows what it takes to win a European championship. He bagged one as a player for Germany in 1982. DW asked him what Germany need to do to get past Turkey and qualify for a shot at the title.

Germany's goalkeeper Jens Lehmann and Turkey's Rustu Recber

Germany's Lehmann will be facing Turkey's Rustu

DW-RADIO: Mr. Koeppel, what suggests that Germany will beat Turkey?

Horst Koeppel: I think we've gotten much better over the course of the tournament, and Turkey have been lucky. I don't want to diminish their achievement, and they've shown great fighting spirit, but they've been lucky three times now, and at some point your luck runs out. I think our team won't take the match too lightly, and I think Germany will win.

Veteran midfielder Torsten Frings is fit again after his rib injury. But does it make any sense to change the starting eleven that won against Portugal?

Horst Koeppel

Horst Koeppel thinks Germany can repeat their 1982 triumph

It's difficult to say from a distance. If I were at Germany's training camp and could see whether Torsten Frings really is 100 percent match fit, then it might make sense to start him. But a cracked rib is no easy matter. I've had one myself, and I know it can take weeks to heal. Normally it wouldn't be necessary to change the team after the win against Portugal. But I'm not close enough to the team to say. I'm sure Joachim Loew will make the right decision.

Should Germany bolster their attack? The Turks seem as though they'll play very defensively.

That's correct, but then you run the risk of being caught out on the counter-attack. We don't know who will play yet for Turkey. The suspended players are out, but a couple of the injured ones may be able to take the field. I think we should play the same game as against Portugal. I assume we'll have a lot more possession. But we shouldn't go overboard on the attack because that can backfire. Turkey is a very dangerous team that knows how to counter-attack, and Halil Altintop is a player who can shoot from 20 to 25 meters.

Turkey's Hamit Altintop, rear, and Tuncay Sanli play during a training session

Turkey's best hope for a goal is probably Altintop

There was talk of Germany playing with three strikers, but you wouldn't recommend that, would you?

No. I see no reason to change the starting team. If Torsten Frings were totally fit, I would start him because he can help the team with his experience and grit. Otherwise I'd play with the same team, the same formation and the same ambition against Turkey as against Portugal.

As you said, Turkey have come from behind three times in the tournament and have had a lot of luck. But that can strengthen your resolve, can't it?

Of course. Every coach knows that, including, naturally, Turkey's. If you come from behind it makes you confident and you start to hope and believe that it can happen a fourth time. But we know these things too. The German coach and the team will be prepared for this. I think the team knows what's at stake and is strong enough to beat the Turks. But it will be difficult, I'm sure of that.

To reach the semi-finals, a team has to perform. But Germany does seem to have the better players.

Germany's Torsten Frings lies on the field

Bringing Frings back could be a risk

Absolutely. Above all, the first half-hour against Portugal was completely convincing. I was even a bit surprised that our team pushed the ball upfield so quickly and skilfully. Sometimes there were only two touches of the ball. It was very direct, and that's what a team needs to do to attack quickly and make the opponent feel nervous and threatened. And that's why I think that if we can match that performance, we'll win this game as well.

So that would put Germany in the final. Who do you think they'll face there, Spain or Russia?

I don't want to make any hard-and-fast predictions. Both teams definitely want to make the final, and both have played very well thus far -- especially Russia in their last match against the Dutch. It was difficult for the Spaniards to get much of a threat going against Italy because the Italians are still a very good defensive team and didn't allow many chances. Russia versus Spain will be a game in which both teams try to attack and win the match outright. I think the match is wide open, and I'm really looking forward to it.

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