Kimmich: 'Everyone knows what's at stake'
After the somewhat unlucky opening defeat against France (0-1), Germany are under pressure going into the second group match in Euro 2020 against Portugal on Saturday (kick-off 18.00 CEST) – a defeat against the Iberian side would leave Germany with the hope of reaching the last sixteen as one of the four best third-placed teams. Fortunately from the Germany perspective, there are enough players in the squad under coach Joachim Löw who have already proved that they can excel in such situations. A good example of that is Joshua Kimmich who again wants to be a leader against the Portuguese.
Kimmich's qualities as a leader in demand
"These are the games you look forward to as a player. There’s something to play for," said the 26-year-old on Friday and he advanced the clear solution for the showdown at the Allianz Arena: "Everybody knows what's at stake," added Kimmich. "We want to win. We've got the quality to do that." The Germany coach did not want to reveal whether the all-rounder would again play on the right as he did against France or in his usual midfield position. "He's always one of the key players. Not just because of his desire but also has quality," said Löw in describing the ability of the Confed Cup winner of 2017 before adding: "He has the class to be able to immediately deal with new tasks."
Goretzka could be an option against Portugal
So it will probably not be clear up to the kick-off in the clash with the reigning European Champions of when there will be a reunion of the strong Bayern midfield pairing of Kimmich and Leon Goretzka in the Germany team. The latter missed the opening match against the Équipe Tricolore due to a muscle injury – but now he is due to return to the squad. "Of course, he is a great option in the second half. It's very probable that he will play. Because he can help the team with his dynamism and his runs," revealed Löw. Serge Gnabry, who trained on his own on Thursday, completed the final pre-match training session in Herzogenaurach on Friday and is ready to play.
Die DFB-Elf ist personell also bestens gerüstet für die Partie gegen den Titelverteidiger. Das Team um Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo ist bei dieser EURO nicht minder hochkarätig besetzt als beim ersten EM-Triumph vor fünf Jahren. Dennoch könnte es der richtige Gegner zur richtigen Zeit für die deutsche Mannschaft sein: Seitdem Löw beim DFB ist, wurden alle vier Duelle gegen Portugal gewonnen – zuletzt gab es die Begegnung bei der WM 2014, als die DFB-Elf unter anderem durch drei Tore von Thomas Müller mit 4:0 gewann. Überhaupt hat Deutschland erst ein Turnierspiel gegen Portugal verloren: 2000 bedeutete das 0:3 in Rotterdam jedoch das frühe EM-Aus. In der
Germany are in better shape ahead of the match against titleholders. The team with superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is no less strong at these Euro finals than they were when they won their first European Championship five years ago. Nevertheless, it could be the right opponent at the right time for the German team: Since Löw has been at the helm with Germany, all four games against Portugal have ended in victory – the last meeting was at the 2014 World Cup when Germany won 4-0 with Thomas Müller scoring three goals. Germany have only lost once against Portugal in the tournament: A 3-0 defeat in Rotterdam in 2000 meant an early exit from that European Championship. In the 18 games so far, Germany are clearly ahead with ten wins and just three defeats (plus five draws).
However, that record probably doesn't interest anybody today, said Löw. Portugal have established themselves at the top of the world game in recent years: "They work very well together as a team. They very much play the passing game and are technically at the highest level. They are very dangerous because they are so versatile," said the 61-year-old. Germany will have to be right on top of their game on Saturday to leave Portugal behind them in the race for a Round of 16 place. "It's about us having the quality as a team and showing it on the pitch," declared Kimmich.
France with Lucas Hernández play Germany's final opponents Hungary at 15.00 CEST on Saturday: