Germany play down security concerns ahead of return to St. Denis | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 14.06.2016
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Germany play down security concerns ahead of return to St. Denis

Germany can take a big step towards finishing first in Group C with a win over Poland on Thursday. They will be looking to do so at a venue they know all too well - one of the scenes of last November’s Paris attacks.

The three players who appeared at Tuesday's press conference at the national team's base camp at Evian-les-Bains were all in the Stade de France on November 13, 2015, when explosive devices set off by suicide bombers could be heard inside the stadium.

Given this fact, coupled with the news that France woke up to on Tuesday - that a police officer and his partner had been killed outside of Paris in what President Francois Hollande described as a "terrorist act" - it was natural that reporters would ask about the players' state of mind, two days before making their return to the Stade de France.

Security 'not an issue'

"Right now this (security) is not an issue, " said Jerome Boateng, who had previously declared that none of his family would be in the stadium because "the risk is too great for me."

"We are concentrating on sport," he added. "We're traveling tomorrow as normal and we'll be well-prepared for the game."

Pushed further on the question, Boateng said it wasn't just about security.

"Because I have two small daughters, I decided this time that they shouldn't travel here and there for the whole tournament and come to every stadium," he said.

For his part, Lukas Podolski indicated that his family would not be at either of the remaining Group C games, not due to security concerns, but because his wife hand enough on her plate looking after their two young children, including their daughter, who was born just last week.

Skhodran Mustafi said he had left it completely up to his family members to decide whether they wanted to attend any of the games in person. He also stressed that he had put the events of November 13 behind him and that he had no concerns about security as the team prepares to return to the Stade de France.

Frankreich Fußball Stade de France

Germany last played in the Stade de France on the night of last November's deadly attacks

"We are players, we have our jobs, other people have other jobs, and as Jerome said, we feel safe, and we don't discuss this," he said. "We are focused on the sporting side of things."

Hooligan trouble not a distraction either

Beyond the threat of terrorism, though, this edition of the European championships is threatening to be overshadowed by the scenes of violence, particularly between Russian and English "fans" in Marseille last weekend but also involving German hooligans ahead of the Ukraine match in Lille.

Germany's match against Poland on Thursday is classified as high risk in terms of the potential for fan violence, but Boateng said this wouldn't distract the team from their sporting goals either.

"Of course this was not nice to see, nobody in football or anywhere else likes to see this," Boateng said. "However, we are concentrated on the sport, and we hope that the surroundings will remain quiet."


Amid the serious discussion about security and the strength of Germany's next opponent, one reporter asked whether the team had been distracted by a video that made the rounds of social media over the past couple of days, which showed head coach Joachim Löw absently scratching around inside the front and back of his trousers during the Ukraine match. The footage even sparked its own German hash tag - "#hosengate" (trousersgate) - on Twitter.

"I think that 80% of you (journalists) - and I - scratch our genitals from time to time," Podolski said in response, sparking laughter and light applause among the mainly male reporters present. "So everything is fine."

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