Germany not here for a holiday, says Lahm

Philipp Lahm says he and his team-mates have not arrived in Italy for a holiday.

Marco Reus, Germany

The last time two of the world's most successful nations met left a "bitter taste" with Italy knocking Germany out of Euro 2012 in the semi-finals and, although Lahm insists revenge is not on his mind, he is still taking Friday night's clash at San Siro very seriously.

"We're playing against a great side and it's always emotional to play against Italy," he said.

"I come to Italy often for my holidays, it's a beautiful country, but it's never a holiday when you're here to play against them."

Lahm knows that all too well, although images of a bare-chested Mario Balotelli celebrating his goal in the semi-final last year is not an image which disturbs him.

"There will be pictures of me celebrating and others sad - in football there are winners and losers, but we can not change what happened in 2012, even if it left a bitter taste.

"A win tomorrow will not get us into the 2012 final. We can't change the past and we can not do anything about the defeats we've suffered, but we're looking forward to the future.

"This will be a good test for us and we want to win it."

It will be the 100th test of Joachim Low's rein as Germany coach, although apart from the odd grey hair, he has not changed since replacing Jurgen Klinsmann after the 2006 World Cup, according to the Germany national team's general manager Oliver Bierhoff.

"If I see pictures from the past, then I see we've all got older, but Low certainly hasn't changed," he said.

Lahm agrees that Low is still the same man he got to know first working as assistant to Klinsmann from 2004.

"He's always had his way of working and he sticks to it," said the Bayern Munich defender. "He's always been very clear, direct and he will carry on that way.

"The way we have played under Low has always been very positive, attack-minded, and plenty of players have emerged under him who like to have the ball and are technically gifted."

One of those, Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, is unlikely to feature on Friday as he continues to recover from a flu virus.

Bayern's attacking midfielder Mario Gotze could take his place with support provided from Marco Reus and Chelsea's Andre Schurrle.

Manuel Neuer has been confirmed his place in goal, although Roman Weidenfeller, in the national team set-up for the first time, could play against England on Tuesday.

Giuseppe Rossi is not going to be fit to provide Italy coach Cesare Prandelli with his dream strike partnership against Germany.

The Fiorentina forward has failed to overcome a virus in time to play alongside Mario Balotelli at the San Siro in the front partnership Prandelli defined as his preference at a press conference earlier this week.

"In my mind, I am thinking Balotelli and Rossi," Prandelli said. "Rossi has great quality and has been strengthened by injury.

"Balotelli is a player who can make the team win, but he has got to learn to live with the pressure."

Partnering the AC Milan striker on Friday night will be Pablo Osvaldo, the Southampton forward selected in the final two training sessions for a game which is more than just a friendly match to Riccardo Montolivo.

"It can't be a game like any other," said the Milan captain. "Particularly not for me, considering that my mum is German so that makes me half-German."

Montolivo was on the field the last time the two teams met in the semi-finals of Euro 2012, and he remembers that night fondly.

"It was certainly a magical evening," he said. "It's my most beautiful memory.

"We had the feeling of being one big family, a group united by a strong bond and I think that is what made us do so well.

"I hope we can recreate that climate for the World Cup."



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