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Demichelis' home game

‘I’ll play to win, because I hate losing’

It's his stadium and his city, but when Martin Demichelis joins his Argentina team-mates on Wednesday evening for the ride to the Allianz Arena and a friendly meeting with Germany, it won’t feel like business as usual. “We’ll be singing the whole time when we’re on the bus,” the Bayern stopper revealed. A communal sing-song is a facet of Argentina’s build-up he confesses to missing a little in Germany.

The midweek international is doubly pleasing for Micho, as a flavour of his South American home comes to his adopted home town. “It’s special,” agreed the defender, now in his seventh season with Bayern. Martin is set for his 25th cap – in Munich, against a Germany team likely to include five of his FCB team-mates. “I’m really sorry for the lads,” he grinned in a shot across the bows for Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose, Mario Gomez and Thomas Müller, “I’m playing to win, because I hate losing.”

No holding back

Centre-half Micho has promised likely direct opponents Miroslav Klose and/or Mario Gomez an especially hard time. “They’re both great strikers and good friends,” said Demichelis, “but I’m playing for my country on Wednesday. Pulling on the shirt is a great honour, and I have to defend my honour. Unfortunately, we’re on opposing sides, and if I have to take them out, I’ll take them out. My job is to connect with the ball, Mario or Miro.”

Demichelis is in no mood to show restraint or compassion. It may only be a friendly, but plenty is riding on the game. There’s prestige of course, where Diego Maradona’s men have ground to make up after a patchy World Cup qualifying campaign which went right to the wire, and resulted in a relatively lowly fourth place in the final standings. Places in the squad for the World Cup are also up for grabs, and in this respect, Demichelis has been hurt before.

Rising from the slough of despond