Germany looks for Euro boost against Denmark
Berlin, June 1, 2021 (AFP) - Germany are targeting a convincing win on Wednesday in their first warm-up game ahead of Euro 2020 to boost flagging confidence after some dreadful results this season.
Captain Manuel Neuer will make his 99th appearance for Germany, who he insists have "no time to waste" in Wednesday's friendly against Denmark in Innsbruck.
Joachim Loew's side kick off their tournament against world champions France in Munich on June 15, and the Germans are eager to move on from their shock 2-1 loss to North Macedonia in March.
That World Cup qualifying setback further rattled the Germans in the wake of a 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Spain last November.
Loew, who will step down after 15 years in charge following the European Championship, has demanded the Germans show a "winning mentality" against Denmark.
However, he will be without most of Germany's Premier League contingent.
Chelsea trio Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Antonio Ruediger, as well as Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan have been given extra time off after Saturday's Champions League final.
The quartet are expected to join the Germany camp in Austria on Thursday.
Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos is training again after testing positive for Covid-19 last month, while Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka joined the squad Wednesday after shaking off a thigh injury.
Thomas Mueller and Mats Hummels are expected to make their first Germany appearance for nearly three years having been recalled by Loew, who initially dropped the pair in March 2019.
Mueller's stellar form for Bayern Munich has since forced Loew to reconsider, and the 2014 World Cup winner will be expected to "direct and shape the game" up front.
Dortmund defender Hummels urged Germany to quickly "overcome resistance" from the Danes and thrown down a marker.
"The European Championship has actually already begun for us," he added.
The experienced 32-year-old will be under pressure to tighten Germany's shaky defence which has conceded 18 goals in the last 11 internationals.
As well as shipping six goals against the Spaniards, Germany were also held to 3-3 draws by both Switzerland and Turkey last October.
The Danes will be a "very good yardstick in every respect", according to Germany assistant coach Marcus Sorg, before a final friendly against Latvia on Monday.
The Germans have not quite put their traumatic 2018 World Cup debacle behind them.
They are still mindful of an ominous defeat to Austria in a friendly on the eve of the 2018 tournament before crashing out in the group stage.
"Before the 2018 World Cup, our performances in the friendly games weren't that convincing," admitted Hummels.
"We want to bring the same intensity and quality from the very first minute against Denmark as we want to show at the European Championship."