The greece winners can't be sure, especially since low hinted at "one or two changes" for thursday's giant duel in warsaw: "it's not the panacea to let a team play that won. Italy is a completely different number from greece. We'll have to go one better to win," low explained on tuesday.
"Italy can come," proclaimed electoral romanian miroslav klose, who was on the pitch for the "moment of sorrow" in the semifinals of the 2006 world cup summer march in dortmund. "I'm convinced we'll do things differently this time," the striker said ahead of the day of reckoning.
The black tournament series against the squadra azzurra should finally grate. "The time is ripe, maybe even overripe," wolfgang niersbach said in gdansk. The DFB president also looked ahead to a possible new test of strength with world and european champions spain on sunday in the rough european championship final in kiev. The same motto applies as against italy: "the time is ripe! Two 0:1s are enough!"
Low is not so bold to venture too far ahead. He wants to think about possible celebrations as european champions in germany next monday at the earliest after a win against italy. He asked team manager oliver bierhoff "not to bother me," low said plainly. He spends 24 hours a day with the italians, their "extremely good strengths," their "brilliant strategist" andrea pirlo and the goalkeeper gianluigi buffon, who is still "insanely good" even at the age of 34. "Italy is a completely different team than in 2010, they have undergone a tremendous development," the national coach warned against the england conqueror.
But germany has mastermind low, whose changeover coup against greece has now put the italians in a tough spot, too. Plays klose? Or gomez? Come back podolski and muller? "The coach has the luck to put up the one for which he has a snack," remarked klose, an expert on italy, on the luxury situation.
The national coach leaves no doubt about his personnel decision. Bastian schweinsteiger will play from the start in the fifth game of the tournament, despite his ankle injury and poor performance in the 4-2 win over the greeks: "we need bastian schweinsteiger, he's an emotional leader. We need his presence, his calmness on the ball, his physicality on the pitch. I think we can do it by thursday."
Schweinsteiger trains with the team again. The only storgrobe at the last training session at the gdansk headquarters on tuesday was once again the weather, about which low had to "argue" again. The rain hampered the practice, as klose revealed after the secret session: "the weather put a spoke in our wheel. We tried to go through with our program."
Even at the stadium in warsaw, where the roof could be closed if necessary, ozil, schweinsteiger, khedira and co. To dictate the course of the game. "The most important thing is to bring our own game to the pitch. Then we'll be good, too," said low. It's expected to be another close game, like in the preliminary round with the narrow victories against portugal (1:0) and holland (2:1). "Stand compactly in the defense and set pinpricks," said klose on the issued marching order.
Head of the federation niersbach, like the "phenomenal fans" at home, has complete faith in the strategies and decisions of the national jogi. Low is the "ideal man in the right place" who has "prepared the operation" for the european championship title "with the utmost care".
Low no longer looks left and right, even the praise for his person he pushes away shortly before the goal: "the team implements these things. The team is doing an excellent job. The only thing I'm aiming for is to be successful with this team. I have been working on this for years. I ignore everything else."
Low wants to know, first against italy, then against spain or once again portugal. "I was also personally grateful to him for this next step," niersbach remarked. The head of the delegation, low, says how much he longs for the crown: "the final in 2008, twice third in the world championships, these were already great achievements. Now to dot the i, that's what we all wish for."
The expected lineup:
Neuer – boateng, hummels, badstuber, lahm – khedira, schweinsteiger – muller, ozil, podolski – gomez