Kharkiv: Germany coach Joachim Loew has said he expects a "battle" against Holland in Wednesday's crunch Euro 2012 clash, but quickly rejected any notion that it will be a "war" in Kharkiv.
Holland face Germany in the eastern Ukrainian city on Wednesday needing a win to give themselves a realistic chance of reaching the knock-out stages having lost their opening Group B match to Denmark last weekend.
Having already beaten Portugal, Germany can book their place in the quarter-finals with another win, but given the history between the two rival nations, Loew quickly rejected a "war" cliche suggested by a Dutch journalist.
The Germans are eager to avoid stirring up any more World War II-related controversy after assistant coach Hansi Flick had to apologise for using a 'steel helmets' metaphor last Friday before the 1-0 win over Portugal.
"We are miles away from comments like that, we wouldn't even say it," said the 52-year-old Loew when asked if he expected a "war" with the Dutch.
"Logically, there is a big rivalry between the two countries and these are always legendary games, some of the most interesting in Europe over the last 20 to 30 years.
"From that point of view, there is a huge rivalry, it will be intense, but there is no place for words like 'war'.
"Ok, maybe it will be a 'battle' on the pitch, but it's not more than a rivalry."
Having lost their second game at both Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Germany vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger has urged his team to take their chance to secure an early passage into the quarter-finals.
"We want to take the next step. We know Holland are under a lot of pressure, but we will concentrate on ourselves," said Schweinsteiger.
"It will be a hard game with a lot of one-on-one challenges and we are looking forward to a classic."
Loew echoed Schweinsteiger's sentiment with the Germans eager to avoid a slip in Kharkiv, which would mean them needing to beat Denmark in Lviv, Ukraine, on Sunday to reach the knock-out stages.
"The Dutch are in a difficult position, because they lost the first game, but that doesn't really interest us," said Loew.
"We want to show what we can do and we want to just focus on qualifying for the next round.
"We want to win the second game and then pre-decide the group before the final matches."