Posts Tagged ‘Lars Bender’

Germany are set to collide with a rock tonight in their quarter-final with Greece.

That is how Germany boss Joachim Löw sees things, ahead of a game for which his side are overwhelming favourites.

Speaking to Uefa.com, Löw said: “Playing Greece will be akin to colliding with a rock. We are the favourites, that’s logical and we can live with that. We also know that knockout games have their own character. Once the match starts, being expected to triumph counts for nothing. Greece are not the sort of team that gets ripped apart; we saw that against Russia when they upset the odds [winning 1-0]. You can never count them out.

“In a quarter-final you have to make a huge effort. We have so far shown we’re fast, capable of creating problems for opponents and able to score good goals. If we run at them in the last third, look to play at a high tempo and display a killer instinct, we will be in a good position to beat them.”

There are unlikely to be any major changes to the line-up, with Lars Bender replacing Jerome Boateng in the last game the only instance of it differing so far, and even that was enforced.

Boateng is now back from suspension, and despite Bender scoring in the last game he has been tipped to reclaim his spot.

Meanwhile, reports are now surfacing that Miroslav Klose is to get the nod ahead of Mario Gomez, on a purely tactical basis. It comes as a slight surprise, given Gomez has three goals to his name already, but then again Klose was favourite to start ahead of him before the tournament began.

Whatever the line-up, Germany’s squad is at full strength for this particular collision, and you’d expect them to come out the other side much the same way.

Likely German XI: Neuer; Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Khedira; Müller, Özil, Podolski; Klose.

Prediction: Germany 2-0 Greece

Germany ensured that they survived the group of death, and progressed to the quarter finals, with a 2-1 victory over Denmark.

The win means Germany finish as group winners, while Denmark join Netherlands in making their exit from Euro 2012, although with more pride intact than their Dutch counterparts.

After putting an early chance over the bar, Thomas Müller turned provider for the first goal of the game.

He fizzed a ball into the feet of Mario Gomez, but the Bayern striker – who already has three goals this tournament – miscontrolled it. However, that was all part of the script as the ball fell to Lukas Podolski, who was left with an easy finish and a goal to celebrate his 100th international appearance. (He’s only 27!)

The Danes were back level soon after though, with Nicklas Bendter rising to head a deep corner back towards goal, and that was met by Michael Krohn-Dehli who was able to nod the ball past Manuel Neuer.

Germany continued to push for a winner in the second half, going close through Gomez. By this point I was struggling to keep up with who could go through and how, and was sick of hearing the word ‘permutations’, which I’m not sure anyone had ever used before last night.

It could have all been different for, well, everyone in the group (except Holland, who continued to be a bit rubbish) had the referee decided to award a penalty and send-off Holger Badstuber when he appeared to pull back Bendtner in the box.

He didn’t, however, and minutes later a quick break led to Mesut Özil playing in the impressive stand-in right back Lars Bender, who finished coolly to put the game – and the group – beyond any doubt.

Germany will now face Greece, a side Joachim Löw described as “very hard…it’s like you’re biting on a rock,” for a place in the semi final. You can make your own jokes about the Euro/Euros etc in the comments box.

Löw, speaking to Uefa.com, said: “The match was very difficult, as expected. In the first half, we had an opportunity to open up a good lead; we missed three or four chances to make it 2-0 or 3-0. Then, from a standard set piece, Denmark levelled. After that, it became harder. In the second half, we controlled the match, looked after the ball and played with real maturity. Three or four years ago, we wouldn’t have won this. But on 60, 70 minutes, all those technical players we have who can take control of the ball stepped up.

“Denmark play with real calmness – they play like they don’t care about winning, sitting back, and then they hit you on the break. They pass the ball back and forth. I never got the feeling they wanted to win; I felt they were happy to keep it level and hope to get a set piece and score from that.

“While I was aware of what could happen, I always felt we would get the second goal. Today was the first decisive game of the tournament, but we did the job and qualified with nine points – a great performance, even if there’s still room for improvement. In midfield and defence, we maybe allowed too much space; we could have closed them down much earlier to avoid allowing Denmark to take the pace out of the game. Greece will be the same, so we need to tighten up.

“I’ve never played Greece and now it’s time. No one thought they would make it as Russia had been so strong. I think they’ve had three or four chances at this tournament and scored three goals; they’re masters of efficiency. They’re hard and great at the back, strong in the tackle; it’s like biting into a rock.”

Germany will not be taking anything for granted as they look to secure their passage to the last-16 of Euro 2012 in their game against Denmark tonight.

The Germans top the group after winning both of their opening games – the only team in the tournament to do so – yet qualification is still not guaranteed.

If Portugal beat Holland, and Denmark win 2-1, then Joachim Löw’s men will surprisingly exit the competition.

Löw, speaking to Uefa.com, said: “We have not qualified yet. It will be a tight, difficult match as Denmark too have hopes of reaching the last eight. Those who saw Denmark as outsiders before the tournament were wrong; we always knew they would be a threat as they’re compact and dangerous on the break.

“We will not underestimate them and I’ll not be letting anyone have a day off. If I make changes it will be because it’s beneficial for the team.”

Germany will be forced into making at least one change from the side that has won both opening games, with full back Jerome Boeteng suspended. He is likely to be replaced by either Benedikt Howedes or Lars Bender, although there is also the possibility captain Philipp Lahm could switch to right back.

Other changes to the starting XI seem unlikely, given both their form and what is at stake, but there is always a chance Löw will decide to rest some of his key players, with the likes of Miroslav Klose, Mario Goetze and Marco Reus all hungry for a chance.

Whatever the line-up, it would be a major upset for Germany to lose this one. While stranger things have happened, my money would be them not only qualifying, but doing so as group winners.

Prediction: Germany 2-1 Denmark

Lars Bender…I think

Lars Bender was born April 27 1989. Minutes later, Sven Bender arrived on the scene. 22 years later, and they are regarded as two of the hottest prospects in Germany.

The pair started out at SpVgg Unterhaching, making their way through the ranks before together making the short move across the Bavarian capital to join 1860 Munich.

The careers continued dawn the same path at Die Lowen, and in the three full seasons each had with the first team, they both made between 60-70 appearances.

Lars, however, was considered to have slightly more talent than his slightly younger brother. This was mainly due to his greater attacking abilities, and recognised by his being given the captain’s armband (when the regular captain was subbed) at the age of 19 – the youngest player ever to captain 1860 Munich.

In the summer of 2009, the twins finally went their separate ways. Lars signed for Bayer Leverkusen, while Sven went to Borussia Dortmund. Both have experienced plenty of first team action, but it is Sven who has had more success – playing a key role in Dortmund’s Bundesliga title win.

Sven Bender…possibly.

They have both represented Germany at every level, from U17 to the full national side, and both played their part in the Uefa U19 Championship win in 2008. Sven was the first to appear for the national side – in a friendly against Australia in March 2011 – but it wasn’t long before Lars won his first cap, and it is the elder Bender who currently has more caps to his name.

Individually, they are two extremely talented young midfielders, and very good prospects. If a club, or their country, could reunite them in the centre of midfield, they could be the perfect pairing.

“The Bender twins are inevitably going to be compared to one another. They play similar roles, breaking up the play in front of the back four and creating. They both get around the pitch well with their rangy frames and always seem to have a dozen passing options at any point.” – John Dobson, journalist. @dobsonjp