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Germany not too optimistic about title defence

Double defending champions Germany are tipped as one the favourites to win the hockey World Cup starting Sunday but captain Maximillan Muller said with a young and inexperienced side at his disposal, a semifinal finish would be a great result for them.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2010 22:58 IST

Double defending champions Germany are tipped as one the favourites to win the hockey World Cup starting Sunday but captain Maximillan Muller said with a young and inexperienced side at his disposal, a semifinal finish would be a great result for them.

Muller said the German team is in the rebuilding phase and has only three players -- Matthias Witthaus, Moritz Furste
and Jan-Marco Montag -- in their 18-member squad from the last edition of the mega event in Monchengladbach.

"We don't have any pressure as we are rebuilding the team. That's why we don't say we will win the World Cup. A
semifinal appearance would be a good finish for us," Muller said.

"We are not thinking of becoming World Champion with a new team. It will take at least one to two years to build the
team. We lost lot of finals in the last couple of years. But I guess these are all part of the learning process," he said.

Citing the example of the last two World Cups, where Germany emerged victorious with a relatively new team, Muller,
however, did not rule out his team's chances.

"We won the 2002 and 2006 World Cups with three different teams, so that's a good sign for us. Germany is always
favourite in any tournament but this would be different.

"If the tournament starts well for us, we can reach the finals and who knows we can make it a hat-trick. But we are
not keeping high expectations as it is not good for performance," he said.