Euro 2012: Expert v Expert Preview - Greece v Germany

German perspective: Terry Duffelen

There are two ways to look at Germany’s victory over Denmark in the final round of Group B matches. On the positive side, it was a controlled performance that allowed them to grind out the result they needed to top the group. On the other hand, it was a performance lacking in intensity which exposed Germany weakness on set pieces. Indeed, had the referee taken a different view of Holger Badstuber’s shirt tug on Niklas Bendtner, Germany could have conceded a penalty, gone down to ten men and found themselves booking flights home.

We will know more about this Germany side after the quarter-final against a motivated, disciplined Greek side. The Greeks play without fear and have made a habit of punishing any team foolish enough not to take them seriously.

If Germany take a similar approach to the Denmark game, they will look to hit the Greeks early, before they get a chance to settle. If they can put away one of their early chances, it should give them a platform to go on to win the game.

However, I suspect that the Germans will need to up their tempo a notch and at the risk of stating the obvious, they will need two goals to be sure of the win. I can foresee one of Fernando Santos’ Bundesliga-based defenders (Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Sokratis Papastathopoulos) grabbing an equaliser via a free kick or corner.

I think that Joachim Löw may utilize André Schürrle again. The Bayer Leverkusen forward looked incisive when he was brought on from the bench against the Danes and should have scored with his first touch.

Score prediction: Germany 2-1 Greece (after extra time)

Draw after 90 minutes at 10.00; André Schürrle to score at 3.30; Germany 0-1 first half goals at 1.45.

Greek perspective: Nassos Stylianou

As the press this week focused on whether or not German Chancellor Angela Merkel would be attending tonight’s game between the two nations, Fernando Santos was faced with the small matter of finding a replacement for Greece’s most capped player, Giorgos Karangounis.

Grigoris Makos of AEK Athens appears to be the chosen one but Santos knows that few can provide the energy and leadership that thehis captain offers. The idea, therefore, seems to be that the other experienced campaigner in the squad, Kostas Katsouranis, will be charged with providing the attacking impetus from midfield as Greece counter. 

The two men at the back with the unenviable task of silencing Germany’s attack, Papastathopolous and Papadopoulos, come up against familiar opposition as they both play in the Bundesliga.

Up front, the only debate is who starts from Fanis Gekas or Sotiris Ninis. The Portuguese coach has been reluctant to play Ninis from the beginning after a lacklustre showing in the first half against Poland, but he may be tempted to give the youngster another chance in place of Gekas. Despite scoring a consolation goal in the 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic, the veteran has failed to shine so far in this tournament.

Merkel – who will be in the stands tonight - may be relying on new Greek premier Antonis Samaras to keep Greece in the eurozone, but the national team are depending on another Samaras if they are to have any chance against the Germans.

Against Russia, Giorgos Samaras showed that he has the ability to play the target man role that Greece need. The question is whether he can replicate that against the tougher German defence.

All week, players of the Ethniki were at pains to stress that they were not affected by the political dimension and that this is just another game. Take no notice of these claims; Greece do have an added national incentive to win this game. The task remains a tricky one, however.

Score prediction: Germany 2-0 Greece

2-0 Germany at 5.75; Germany clean sheet at 1.67; under 2.5 goals at 1.85.