Euro 2012: Lahm strengthens Germany's battle plans

Germany coach Joachim Loew hopes captain Philipp Lahm's return against Israel will help shore up a leaky defense in the last warm-up game before the European Championship.

Updated: May 29, 2012 20:33 IST
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Tourrettes, France: Germany coach Joachim Loew hopes captain Philipp Lahm's return against Israel will help shore up a leaky defense in the last warm-up game before the European Championship.

Loew says Lahm will start at left back in Leipzig on Thursday, with Bayern Munich teammates Jerome Boateng and Holger Badstuber at right back and center back respectively.

"That has nothing to do with how we'll play against Portugal," Loew said on Tuesday with a view to Germany's first game of the tournament on June 9.

Defenders Benedikt Hoewedes and Marcel Schmelzer both struggled in Germany's 5-3 loss in Switzerland on Saturday.

"We just have to tweak a few things," Loew said. "Basically everyone can play with everyone else. We're working on it."

Bastian Schweinsteiger is doubtful against Israel due to a calf injury and is yet to fully take part in Germany's training camp in southern France.

"The question is if he can handle the pain," Loew said.

The German football federation announced its 23-man squad for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine on Monday.

Stuttgart striker Cacau, Borussia Moenchengladbach goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen and midfielders Sven Bender of Borussia Dortmund and talented teenager Julian Draxler of Schalke were all cut.

"I don't want to keep them from planning their holidays, but of course they are the first option (in case of injuries)," said Loew.

The coach said Cacau should start aiming for a place at the World Cup in Brazil, the land of his birth, in 2014, while the other players are all very young and very likely to feature with the national side again.

"I told them it wasn't a decision against them but that they had pushed the door to the national team open," Loew said.

After facing Portugal, Germany plays the Netherlands on June 13 and Denmark on June 17.

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