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Germany Euro squad ‘needs fans’, Gundogan says after Greece friendly

Germany are third-favourites to lift the trophy

Ilkay Gundogan playing football for Germany

Home support will be crucial for Germany when the three-time European champions start their Uefa Euro 2024 campaign against Scotland on Friday, midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has said.

A sensational Pascal Gross strike saw the host nation past Greece in a 2-1 comeback win in Monchengladbach on Friday, when Die Mannschaft supporters unfurled banners expressing expectation that their side will win the tournament but saw them fall behind to opponents ranked 34 places below them.

“It was a test,” said Barcelona’s Gundogan. “We were a bit sluggish in the first half and we were punished for that. The Greeks did well in the first half, but that is not our benchmark.

“It was important that we showed ourselves that we have the ability to respond. We need the support of the fans; that will give us a boost.

“We are starting the European Championship with a good feeling, but there is no team left that we can beat 4-0 or 5-0. We still have a week, our senses are sharpened and we want to carry the momentum forward.”

Germany Euro team ‘know roles’

Germany’s form has been patchy since Julian Nagelsmann became manager in September 2023, although they beat France and the Netherlands in March before a 0-0 draw at home to Ukraine on Monday.

“We knew that we were not as good as we were made out to be in March,” said midfielder Toni Kroos, assessing their last friendly before the finals begin.

“We made a lot of mistakes in the first half – technical errors – played sloppily and ran into counterattacks. Everyone knows their role. They are clearly distributed in the team and that will help us.”

Germany v Greece: Nagelsmann satisfied

Giorgos Masouras put the visitors ahead in the 33rd minute before Kai Havertz’s 55th-minute equaliser brought Germany level and Gross gave them a glorious finish a minute from time.

They have not won the tournament since 1996 but are expected to finish top of Group A, also facing Hungary on June 19 and Switzerland four days later.

“The second half was much improved compared to the first,” said Nagelsmann. “For the first time in a long time, we lost the ball easily in the first half, played far too slowly and played far too much through the centre.

“I addressed that clearly at half-time. We simply needed more sharpness in all our actions to win this game. In the second half, we brought both wings into play in order to open up space in the middle.”

Picture of Ben Miller

Ben Miller

Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.