Old rivalries and fresh memories face Germany when they return to the Stade de France in Paris to face familiar foes Poland in a crucial Euro 2016 clash just seven months after being caught up in last November’s terror attacks in Paris.
Die Mannschaft were forced to spend a traumatic night in the dressing rooms at France’s national stadium when a series of jihadist attacks across Paris left 130 dead on a night they faced the French in a friendly.
Loud explosions could be heard during the match as three suicide bombers unsuccessfully attempted to get into the stadium before blowing themselves up outside and killing one man.
German defender Jerome Boateng, who was in the team that night, caused a stir when he announced his wife and five-year-old twins would not be travelling to France because he believed “the risk is simply too big”.
However, Boateng insists Germany will not be spooked by their return to Paris as they look to take a firm grip of Group C.
“It’s not a topic for us, we feel safe and are concentrating on sporting matters,” said the Bayern Munich defender.”
Of more immediate concern to Joachim Loew’s men will be the sight of Boateng’s Bayern teammate Robert Lewandowski in a Poland side high in confidence after winning their first ever game at a European Championship finals 1-0 over Northern Ireland on Sunday.
Lewandowski scored 42 goals as Bayern romped to a fourth consecutive Bundesliga title this season.
The former Borussia Dortmund forward also top scored in Euro 2016 qualifying with 13 goals and played a vital role as Poland beat Germany for the first and only time 2-0 in November 2014 in Warsaw on their road to France.
Boateng, though, was keen to stress that Germany can’t obsess over Lewandowski if they are to build on their opening 2-0 win over Ukraine with Ajax’s Arkadiusz Milik, who scored the winner against Northern Ireland, also a clear threat.
“It’s important that we get a win in the second game, we know Poland well and it won’t be easy, but with our playing qualities, I am positive that we can decide the game for ourselves.”
“Of course, we have to be careful, they have good people in attack, not just Lewandowski.”
Setback for Poland
Poland’s first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny will miss Thursday’s clash but could return for their final Group C game against Ukraine, coach Adam Nawalka said.
Szczesny had been expected to shrug off the thigh injury he suffered in the 1-0 victory over Northern Ireland but that prognosis has proved overly optimistic. “We cannot properly tell how long Szczesny will be sidelined,” Nawalka told a news conference on Wednesday. “Hopefully he will be ready for the match against Ukraine. That is what the team doctor hopes.”