Germany plays Israel in last test before Euro 2012

German Football
By German Football May 31, 2012 11:18

Germany plays Israel in last test before Euro 2012

Injuries, disrupted preparations and a leaky defense are the main worries for Germany coach Joachim Loew ahead of the European Championship.

Löw hopes his defense is less generous than in the 5-3 loss to Switzerland on Saturday when his team takes on Israel at home on Thursday in Leipzig in its final warm-up for the June 8 to July 1 tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

The return of the eight Bayern Munich players that lost in the Champions League final to Chelsea should give the Germans more stability at the back. The players only joined the squad last weekend.

Germany’s loss to Switzerland was its second in two matches this year, following a 2-1 defeat to France at home in February. The last time Germnay started the year with two losses was 31 years ago.

The mental state of the Bayern players after a season that ended without silverware is another unknown, with Germany heading into Euro 2012 as one of the favorites for the title.

Löw has presented a brave face, saying the preparations have been “right on target” and that he is happy to have “such classy players” in defense.

Central defender Per Mertesacker, however, looks anything but confident after a right ankle injury forced him to sit out rest of the season with Arsenal from February.

Mats Hummels failed to convince against Switzerland despite having an outstanding season with Borussia Dortmund, which swept the domestic double.

“We just have to tweak a few things,” Löw said. “Basically, everyone can play with everyone else. We’re working on it.”

Captain Philipp Lahm will return to left back, although he’s been playing at right back for Bayern and prefers that position.

“That has nothing to do with how we’ll play against Portugal,” Löw said Tuesday with a view to Germany’s first game of the tournament on June 9.

Germany plays the Netherlands on June 13 and Denmark on June 17.

Bastian Schweinsteiger is doubtful against Israel due to a calf injury. He hasn’t practiced fully in Germany’s training camp in southern France. The Bayern midfielder plays in the key central role, directing his team’s pace.

“The question is if he can handle the pain,” Löw said. “It (the injury) is a bit more difficult than we’ve thought.”

Striker Miroslav Klose is struggling to come back after tearing a thigh muscle in March and he also has back problems. Mario Gomez, the only other striker in the final 23-man squad, has been out of form in the late stages of the season.

Germany’s last match against Israel was a 7-1 win in 2002.

German Football
By German Football May 31, 2012 11:18