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Euro 2024: Germany captain expects ‘tricky’ Scotland test

Ilkay Gundogan respects Scots side and ready for reunion with former Premier League rivals

Ilkay Gundogan playing football for Germany

Germany captain Ilkay Gundogan expects Scotland to provide a tricky test for his side in the opening match of Euro 2024.

The Barcelona midfielder is seeking to end a decade of torment for Die Mannschaft by guiding the three-time European Champions to the latter stages of the tournament on home soil.

The 33-year-old moved to the Nou Camp after seven years at Man City last season and will come face to face with a number of familiar faces, not least Man United rival Scott McTominay and Liverpool’s Andy Robertson, the Scotland captain.

“I expect a difficult game,” he told a pre-match press conference. “I know a lot of players from the Premier League. They are very experienced.

“I do think they can be tricky but they are also good in terms of how they play. We must not underestimate them.

“I have respect for them, but if we play to our potential, I think we have a good chance of winning the game tomorrow.”

Gundogan has won 77 caps over a 13-year international career but missed Germany’s 2014 World Cup triumph in Germany due to a back injury.

He revealed he went to support the national team in the fan festivals aged 15 when Germany hosted their last major tournament – the 2006 World Cup, in which they finished third under Jurgen Klinsmann.

“It’s a huge privilege not only to lead the team onto the pitch as captain, but also to play with my teammates in my country. You don’t get such a chance very often,” he said.

“I was at the fan festivals as a youngster in 2006. To now be part of this team and to represent the German people is an honour. We want to make them proud.”

Gundogan hailed the impact of head coach Julian Nagelsmann who took over the role in September after Gundogan’s new club boss Hansi Flick became the first German coach ever to be fired.

Having not won a knockout game since Euro 2016, German fans have been put through the mill over recent years, but Gundogan said: “It helped us that the coach assigned clear roles.

“After the negative experiences of the past tournaments, everyone knows what is at stake and what they have to do.

“That gives us a certain sense of security. The results in the practice matches speak for the good morale and atmosphere in the team.”

Picture of Alex Hoad

Alex Hoad

Alex has more than 15 years' experience in sports journalism and has reported on multiple Olympics, World Cups and European Championships in additional to Champions League, Europa League and domestic football.