Coach Rudi Voller believes Germany must take the game to today’s opponents Latvia, if they are to build on their impressive start to Euro 2004.
Germany were held 1-1 by Holland in their opening Group D match, but the general consensus was that Voller’s side were unlucky not to take all three points against one of the pre-tournament favourites.
“We’ll have more possession and we need to take more initiative, to be more dangerous in front of goal,” he said.
“I know everybody back home is satisfied and it’s good that people believe we can do well, but so far we have not won anything.”
Given that Group D, which also contains the highly-regarded Czech Republic team, is rated as the toughest in the competition, Voller appreciates that qualification may ultimately be determined by number of goals they put past outsiders Latvia.
Nonetheless, Voller said Germany must focus on winning the match rather than become preoccupied with the number of goals they score.
“We accept we are the favourites but talking about goal difference would be foolish,” he said.
“First of all we have to win the game and that will not be easy. Latvia are not here by accident.”
Latvia coach Aleksandrs Starkovs claims to have identified Germany’s weaknesses ahead of their Group D encounter.
“Every team has some minuses,” he said.
“We tried to exploit them against the Czech Republic and we will also do so against Germany.
“They are very strong and their style of play is quite different from the Czechs. It will be a tough game.
“We have to come up with something to neutralise Bobic and Kevin Kuranyi – they are very dangerous forwards.”
“We will change our tactics but I am not going to tell you how.”
“We have already proved that we can make life difficult for the favourites.”
The tournament’s rank outsiders shocked the fancied Czechs by taking the lead before eventually capitulating to two late goals.
“Of course we were disappointed [to lose] because the players didn’t come to Portugal just to make up the numbers,” said Starkovs.
“However, the negative feelings are going away with every day. The atmosphere in the team is good.
“We showed we can play with the big teams.
“The ones we are facing are from the elite, but we are just starting our experience [at this level].”
Bastian Schweinsteiger, who impressed when he came on as a substitute, may replace Bernd Schneider for the Latvia match. .
Marians Pahars, who started on the bench against the Czechs, may replace Aleksandrs Prohorenkovs this afternoon.
Juris Laizans may be introduced to midfield as Latvia look to stifle the influence of Michael Ballack.
Latvia: Kolinko, Isakovs, Zemlinskis, Stepanovs, Blagonadezdins, Bleidelis, Astafjevs, Laizans, Rubins, Verpakovskis, Pahars.
Germany: Kahn, Friedrich, Worns, Nowotny, Lahm; Baumann, Schneider (or Schweinsteiger), Ballack, Hamann; Frings, Kuranyi.
Referee: Michael Riley (England)