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'Jekyll and Hyde' Germany hoping for fairytale finish

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11:10 CEST+02:00
Germany have shown two different faces at Euro 2008 - much like the character from Robert Louis Stevenson's famous 1886 novel. At times they have produced some good football, only later to turn in bad performances.

Having suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Croatia in the group stage, they were impressive against Portugal in the 3-2 quarter-final win, but were then again hesitant before coming from behind to beat Turkey 3-2 in the semi-final.

Germany are bidding for a fourth European crown in Vienna and Löw hopes his side will show their fluent attacking side in Sunday's final, rather than a negative and defensive performance which would play into Spain's hands.

"If you look at the other teams, the Dutch also had a bad day in the knock-out stages (beaten 3-1 by Russia) and we are fully aware we haven't always played to the best of our abilities," said Löw. "There is always room for improvement, but this team has shown they can bounce back from difficulty and have shown resilience. You have to give this German team credit, because even in the difficult stages of games, they always try to play some attacking football."

And Germany manager Oliver Bierhoff backed up Löw saying Germany must "attack Spain, rather than sit back and risk potent attackers Xavi Hernandez, Daniel Guiza or David Silva testing the German defence. The Spanish put great store on being comfortable on the ball, all of their team can produce that defence

splitting passes."

"If you leave them alone and give them time and space on the ball, you are in trouble. "We must close them down, work hard to limit their space and not stand

back."

Win or lose, the German team will tour through Berlin's streets on Monday to reward their loyal fans, but midfielder Torsten Frings is hoping it will be a victory parade to complete the fairytale started two years ago.

German football fans still smile at the memories of the euphoria that swept the

country on July 8, 2006, when Jürgen Klinsmann's side beat Portugal 3-1 in Stuttgart to claim third place at the World Cup on home soil. Many Germans say it was the first time in living memory they can remember being proud to be German in Germany and it seemed a black-red-gold flag flew from nearly every window.

More than 10 million fans tuned in to watch the documentary "Deutschland: Ein Sommermärchen" (Germany: A summer fairytale) which was screened on German television to celebrate their third place finish. And a few days after that win against Portugal, 500,000 fans packed the streets of Berlin for the German team's 'thank you' parade.

But this time, Frings hopes Monday's tour of the capital will be a victory parade with just as many supporters expected. "We had a fantastic experience in 2006, after the game in Stuttgart we flew to Berlin, but this time we want to hold a trophy aloft," said the 31-year-old. "We want to actually show the fans something more than just T-shirts saying 'Thank You'."

Löw's team hope to give German fans the result they crave by adding to the 1972, 1980 and 1996 titles with even self-confessed fan and German chancellor Angela Merkel travelling to the Ernst Happel Stadium for the final. "We have received all kinds of messages from Germany, the mood is of buoyant expectancy. All that support has really helped us," said Germany manager Oliver Bierhoff on the eve of the final in Vienna.

"We will fly to Berlin's Fan Mile from Vienna on Monday to see the supporters, it has become something of a "Living Room" for us, perhaps not the best way to describe the sight of 500,000 people. "It will be a working day in Germany, but perhaps the employers will give a few extra hours off - if we win."

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