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Euro 2024 Hosts Germany Face Denmark After Switzerland ‘Warning Shot’

Euro 2024 hosts Germany come into Saturday’s last 16 clash with Denmark in Dortmund hoping to have learned from Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Switzerland, their final group stage match. After almost a decade of struggles at major tournaments, Germany were riding high after dominant wins over Scotland and Hungary to start the Euros. Germany however came crashing back down to earth against Switzerland and were on course for defeat, before Niclas Fuellkrug’s stoppage time header snatched a draw — and with it, first place in the group.

It was a wake-up call the hosts needed, particularly with fans already eyeing a fourth Euros crown, and a reminder that coach Julian Nagelsmann has plenty to work on. 

‘We underestimated them’

Germany boast a shinier trophy cabinet than their northern neighbours but were famously beaten by the Danes in the Euro 1992 final. 

Denmark’s triumph after failing to qualify and then being admitted following the pre-tournament exclusion of Yugoslavia became a fairytale, but Germany still laments taking the Danes lightly.

A Euros and World Cup winner as a player, Berti Vogts coached Germany in that 1992 final and admitted in his column in the RP newspaper on Thursday that his team “underestimated” Denmark. 

“In 1992 we lost the Euros final against a great Danish team even though we were the favourites — like the German team is now,” he wrote.

“Everyone thought we had the title in the bag — unfortunately some players did too.”

Well-drilled and with a smattering of excellent players at top clubs, 2020 semi-finalists Denmark resemble Switzerland in many ways. 

Vogts said the current Danish incarnation may not boast the same level of quality as their 1992 counterparts, but that the pressure is well and truly on the Germans.

“The Danes were hungry for success and carefree, they just played football and took us by surprise — also because we underestimated them. 

“The German team should not make that mistake now. The Switzerland game was therefore an important warning shot.”

Questions for Nagelsmann

Germany won just three of 11 games in 2023 but are yet to lose in 2024, winning five times and drawing twice, thanks at least in part to Nagelsmann picking the same starting XI. 

The coach only deviated from his starters when forced through injury or unavailability. 

The policy may have given Germany stability, but it cost him centre-back Jonathan Tah for the Denmark clash, after the defender picked up a second yellow card against Switzerland. 

In his place, Borussia Dortmund’s talented yet unpredictable central defender Nico Schlotterbeck will line-up on Saturday.

Antonio Rudiger is also in doubt for the clash with a hamstring injury, although Schlotterbeck said Thursday: “I hope it works out that he returns.”

“I had the same injury already and it’s not easy to get out of your mind.”

Schlotterbeck said the Germans knew “actually everything” about the Danes.

“The whole match plan, defence, offence. We know about Denmark and how we will play them,” he said.

The 24-year-old looked forward to the match in his home stadium on Saturday, saying Dortmund’s usual yellow wall would become a “wall of white.”

While Tah’s absence will force Nagelsmann’s hand, he may be tempted to replace Arsenal forward Kai Havertz with Niclas Fuellkrug, who has scored twice off the bench so far. 

Since making his debut aged 29 in 2022, Fuellkrug has 13 goals to Havertz’s seven — with the Dortmund striker normally coming off the bench.

Fuellkrug, who was playing second division football just two seasons ago, said he was not concerned about his role as supersub. 

“The title is so much more important than the individual.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Bernard Greenhall
Bernard Greenhall

Bernard is a sports and physical education expert with years of experience. He's passionate about promoting health and wellness through physical activity, and he's worked with athletes and non-athletes alike to help them achieve their fitness goals. Bernard holds a degree in Physical Education and is dedicated to staying up-to-date with the latest trends and research in his field.

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