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Decision day looms for Löw on German Euro 2008 squad

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Decision day looms for Löw on German Euro 2008 squad
Löw points the way up for Ballack and co. Photo: DPA
15:58 CEST+02:00
With Germany aiming to reach the pinnacle of European football this summer, head coach Joachim Löw will scale one of the country's highest mountains on Friday to announce his team for next month's European Championship.

Löw will announce his preliminary Euro 2008 squad in a restaurant at the summit of the Zugspitze mountain, which borders tournament co-hosts Switzerland and Austria.

Germany open their Group B campaign against Poland in the south Austrian city of Klagenfurt on Sunday June 8 where they also play Croatia on June 12, before facing hosts Austria in Vienna on June 16.

"We have been working towards this tournament for two years, so we are well prepared and the time has come," said Löw, who has been Germany head coach since July 2006.

But his plans have been damaged by the back injury which will keep midfielder Bernd Schneider out of the tournament, while Real Madrid defender Christoph Metzelder has just returned after six months out with a foot injury. Experienced Werder Bremen midfielder Torsten Frings has struggled with three separate knee injuries.

There are no surprises expected when Löw announces an extended squad of 26 players on Friday who will travel to Marbella in Spain for intensive training. The final 23-man squad will be named on May 28 in accordance with UEFA rules.

Werder Bremen's Tim Borowski is likely to replace Schneider in the squad, while Michael Ballack is set to be named captain after his recent dazzling form for Chelsea on the road to the Champions League final.

In Bayern Munich striker Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, plus Stuttgart's Mario Gomez and Schalke 04's Kevin Kuranyi, Loew has some of the best forwards in Europe.

And in goal, Jens Lehmann and Timo Hildebrand are expected to be announced despite spending last season warming the benches at Arsenal and Valencia respectively.

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