Dortmund braces for very physical first semi-final
Germany are unbeaten here in 14 games, but Italy remain unfazed. Lead Players | Swot analysis | Pics | Your Takeindia Updated: Jul 04, 2006 20:09 IST
Germany has never lost in Dortmund's imposing stadium. The results for several members of Italy's team in the former Westfalenstadion are mixed.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon recalled how he saved two penalty kicks against Nevio Scala's Borussia Dortmund in the 1997 Champions League and his Parma team still lost.
"This stadium really gets broiling, even in cup play. I foresee an even match with a lot of physical battles," Buffon, now with Juventus, said ahead of Tuesday's World Cup semifinals. Germany is unbeaten in 14 games in Dortmund, and has drawn only once there.
"I've also won twice in this stadium. It's not like we're going to go in and throw our hands up," Italy coach Marcello Lippi said. The English-style ground features sharply angled stands flush along the touchlines and noise levels that surpass any other German stadium.
In 1995, his first season at Juventus, Lippi led his team to a 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of the UEFA Cup semifinals. A few months later, Juve played so well in a 3-1 win in the group phase of the Champions League that the German fans stood up and applauded at the final whistle.
"Germany is certainly a strong team, young, enthusiastic and well-prepared. And they're going to have the entire stadium supporting them. But for the most part players are not affected by these things," Lippi said.
Alessandro Del Piero scored once and set up two goals in his Champions League debut in Juve's 3-1 win here 11 years ago. "I noticed that they've added some seats," Del Piero said. "It was already imposing back then. The field is good, the stadium is imposing and the stands are right on top of you. It's a great atmosphere. We're going to have to be really motivated." Several AC Milan members of Italy's team have also played in Dortmund.