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Lahm optimistic

‘The best Germany team I’ve played in’

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Philipp Lahm says Germany are ready for the start of their 2010 World Cup campaign. “We’re in good shape, we’ve trained well, there’s plenty of pace and enthusiasm. Our young team is hungry,” the team captain declared two days prior to the Europeans’ opening match against Australia in Durban: “I’m sleeping very soundly because of the way the team’s performed since we got here.”

Lahm and Co are determined to beat the men from Down Under and get their World Cup quest off to the best possible start. “Big things could happen here, but winning your first match is vital in setting the course of the rest of the tournament,” explained vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger. The 25-year-old is poised to win his 75th senior international cap.

Youngest-ever Germany squad

At the 2010 finals, coach Joachim Löw is supervising the three-time winners’ youngest-ever World Cup squad. “We have a very good team,” said Lahm, praising the current line-up in the highest terms: “This is the best team with the highest levels of quality of all the Germany teams I’ve ever played in.”

“We have plenty of players who are technically very, very strong, who like to take on their man, and are more skilful than the stereotypical German – and that’s good, it’s a great blend,” Lahm reasoned. The Munich-born full-back will lead out his national side in a competitive fixture for the first time.

Start for Müller?

Alongside Lahm and Schweinsteiger, most pundits expect Bayern pair Holger Badstuber and Miroslav Klose to start Sunday’s match. Thomas Müller is also a possible for the right side of midfield. “We’re still mulling over two or three positions,” revealed assistant coach Hansi Flick. He and Löw will announce their line-up to the squad after final training on Saturday evening, or possibly not until matchday itself.

Lahm and Co know they are in for a physically demanding test in the opening game. By way of getting into the mood for the Socceroos, the Germans watched action movie Terminator 4 on Thursday evening. “We’re delighted we’re about to play our opening match,” Lahm concluded.