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FCB head-to-head

Germany target last eight berth against Dutch

Bayern stars go head-to-head at Euro 2012 for the first time on Wednesday evening, when Germany’s eight Munich men meet the Netherlands with Arjen Robben and former FCB captain Mark van Bommel in Kharkiv. Victory for the Germans, 1–0 winners against Portugal in their opening match, would see them through to the last eight with the third group fixture still to play, but the Dutch face an embarrassing preliminary stage exit.

“Both teams have world-class potential," said Germany boss Joachim Löw in the build-up to the Group B clash, “it's a meeting between equals." Löw called on his men to improve in their attacking efforts: “Everyone knows we can do better. All the forwards can be much more involved in the action." However, another solid defensive performance is a must, with energy-sapping temperatures around 30°C expected for Wednesday evening’s game.

Gomez in fighting mood

Löw is also expecting the Dutch to perform far better in attack than in their shock 1–0 defeat to Denmark. “Their forward line is among the best there is," the coach warned, aware of the enormous pressure to win weighing down on the men in orange. “But it makes no difference to us. We want to win our second match," declared striker Mario Gomez. The match-winner against Portugal is once again likely to start ahead of former Bayern team-mate Miroslav Klose.

The Portugal match was Bastian Schweinsteiger’s first international appearance since October 2011, and the midfielder is looking to continue his progress back towards peak form. “Bastian is back in match rhythm. I never had the feeling he was plagued by physical problems," remarked Löw, “Bastian totally believes in himself, his body language is good, he’s ambitious and determined to win."

All German players fit

The Germans turned in a scintillating display to beat the Dutch 3–0 in a friendly last November, but no-one is expecting a repeat on this occasion. “We'd be mad to think the match will follow a similar course. This is a tournament situation, and it'll be a lot more physical," warned team manager Oliver Bierhoff. “Germany against Holland is always an emotion-laden and tense match. We're expecting a tough battle."