WARSAW: Germany remain most observers’ tip as the most dangerous challenger to European champions Spain at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine but to justify that status they must see off Greece in Gdansk on Friday in the quarter-finals.

A key role has been played by the midfield platform of Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger which was constructed in last-minute injury emergency by coach Joachim Low at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Then Germany reached the semi-finals and Khedira said: “In 2010, we played only one game together before the World Cup. Since then, two years have gone by and we have played many matches together.

“We know our respective virtues and to enable the other to capitalise on theirs you yourself take a step back. I believe our balance between defending and attacking has become even better and that has probably made us stronger as well.”

Khedira’s Real Madrid club-mate Mesut Özil is the other member of Germany’s midfield trio though there have been suggestions in the media that he is lookling tired and might give way to Mario Gotze.

This appears likely after the manner in which Germany advanced to the last eight as the only team to have won all their group games. 

Khedia said: “Mesut has taken another step in the past one or two years. We players value him, he works a lot for the team. Now he knows how to create space by running. His genius moments will come, simply because he has the quality for that to happen.”

Former Greece goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis, a European title-winner in 2004, has insisted that his successors have an advantage because they were under no pressure against Germany.

Nikopolidis said:  “I believe that since we are not the favourites to win, the German team will be under more pressure than us. We got this far by doing our best as a team, and I believe that from now on we have nothing to lose.

“We are playing against favourites this time and they may win the tournament because they are a very good team. Our basic advantages are our good defence and that we can counterattack quickly. We will focus on that and hope that everything will be OK.”

with UEFA.com

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