We won’t underestimate Gibraltar: Schweinsteiger

We won’t underestimate Gibraltar: Schweinsteiger

World champions fighting for first place in their group

By (AFP)

Published: Sat 13 Jun 2015, 11:15 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:52 PM

Faro — Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger insists the world champions will not underestimate minnows Gibraltar in Saturday’s Euro 2016 away qualifier in their bid to top their group.

The Germans are joint second in Group D, a point behind leaders Poland, as they head to Faro, Portugal, for Saturday’s tie against the part-timers who have lost all five qualifiers so far, leaking 27 goals in the process.

Germany coach Joachim Loew has sent several star players, including Bayern Munich pair Thomas Mueller and Manuel Neuer, plus Borussia Dortmund winger Marco Reus, on holiday, but the world champions still expect three points. A shock defeat in Poland and a home draw against the Republic of Ireland means Germany find themselves in the unusual situation of fighting for first place.

The Germans were beaten 2-1 by the United States on Wednesday in their warm-up friendly when the world champions’ finishing was again an issue, as it has been since lifting the World Cup last July. “We won’t make the mistake of underestimating Gibraltar,” said Schweinsteiger. “Of course we know that we’re better than them and it’s clear that we have to pick up a win there, but it doesn’t have to be double-digits.

“It has to be a good game from us. We have to find the breakthrough against a team which will sit back a lot.” The game is being held at Faro’s Estadio Algarve, Gibraltar’s home ground, even though it lies several hundred kilometres from the British territory.

The team from the tiny Iberian peninsula have a Scottish caretaker coach in Dave Wilson after Allen Bula was sacked in March, four games into their campaign, having been in charge for four years.

Bula was boss when Germany trounced Gibraltar 4-0 in Nuremberg last November, which was greeted as something of a triumph by the visitors given the huge gulf in class between the two teams. Wilson’s side lost a friendly to Croatia 4-0 last Sunday and a similar scoreline would be a welcome result for both hosts and visitors alike.

Ireland and Poland have already posted 7-0 wins over Gibraltar, whose striker Lee Casciaro scored their first competitive goal in a 6-1 loss to Scotland in March.

Gibraltar’s only win in 10 matches as a Uefa member nation was a 1-0 success at home against Malta in a friendly in June last year, although European football’s newest members have drawn 0-0 with Slovakia and 1-1 with Estonia.

Lukas Podolski is two goals shy of his 50th for Germany going into the match, in which the Inter Milan forward is set to win his 125th cap.

Germany can finish the weekend top of Group D if results go their way with Ireland hosting Scotland in Dublin and Poland at home to Georgia on Saturday. “It’s especially important to pick up three points,” added Schweinsteiger.
“We can’t influence the other results and at the end of the day, the main priority is to qualify for Euro 2016, everything else is of secondary importance.”

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