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Looking to ‘tear apart’

sports Updated: Jun 13, 2010 01:12 IST

Agencies
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The great weight of German expectation will slam headlong into a wall of Australian defensive grit and muscle when the spectacular new Moses Mabhida stadium hosts its first World Cup match on Sunday.

Germany's World Cup pedigree — three titles, four-times losing finalists and three third places —demands success of Joachim Loew's team regardless of injury problems and stuttering strikers.

Deprived by injury of captain Michael Ballack and four other players, Germany's youngest tournament squad for three quarters of a century could have hoped for an easier Group D opener than to face a hugely experienced Australia side.

“They have an unbelievable passion, unbelievable organisation and a near-perfect defensive structure,” Loew said of the Australians. “It is a very tough first match but our players will be confident and we want to win that match.”

Loew is likely to stick with Miroslav Klose as his sole striker, hoping he can rediscover the scoring form noticeably absent for Bayern Munich this season but which made him the tournament's top scorer four years ago on home soil. The 32-year-old will be looking for support from three attacking midfielders, including Lukas Podolski on the left wing, to help him unpick the Australia defence.

“We have to find the gaps,” Podolski told reporters.

Compact defence

Australia's Dutch coach Pim Verbeek has midfield goalscoring threat Tim Cahill and his most talented attacker, Harry Kewell, fit again after injury.

Kewell has not played in any of their warm-up matches, however, so is unlikely to start for the Socceroos with Josh Kennedy set to remain lone striker.

Australian defence vs Garman attack

Germany's wingers have promised to "tear apart" the mealy-mouthed Australian defence which enjoyed a sterling reputation in qualifying. In Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, the Socceroos have one of the world's top shot stoppers, but even he would concede that he will probably have his work cut out against the likes of Miroslav Klose, top scorer in the last World Cup.