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German Poles threaten old country's hopes

Written by: Staff

BERLIN, June 13 (Reuters) Poland face the cruel threat of being knocked out of the World Cup by the best two Polish-born strikers in the tournament when they face Germany in their Group A match in Dortmund tomorrow.

Miroslav Klose, who scored twice for Germany in their opening day 4-2 win over Costa Rica, and his precocious sidekick Lukas Podolski, 21, were born in Poland and came to Germany when they were children.

''We're glad they're on our side because they are exceptional players,'' Germany coach Juergen Klinsmann said at a news conference ahead of the game.

''It will be a special moment for the two of them because they do have Polish roots and they even speak Polish together on the pitch.

''Playing Poland might just be an additional motivation to score an additional goal.'' Poland, beaten 2-0 by Ecuador in their first game, need a win to get back in contention for a place in the last 16. For Germany, a second victory would all but guarantee their progress.

From the statistics, it does not look good for the Poles.

They have never managed to beat Germany inn 85 years of trying, while the Germans have never been beaten in 13 previous matches at the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund.

However, Germany have not beaten another European team in the finals of a major tournament since overcoming Czech Republic in the Euro 96 final, a match Klinsmann played in.

Germany met Poland the last time the World Cup was hosted on German soil in 1974, when a 1-0 victory for the hosts took them through to the final and a 2-1 triumph over Netherlands.

GERMAN RELIEF Germany's victory over Costa Rica provided a welcome release of tension for Klinsmann and his young squad.

They will have captain Michael Ballack back in the side against the Poles after he missed the tournament's opening game with a calf strain.

''He gives us that extra bit of quality,'' assistant coach Joachim Loew said at a news conference. ''We're very glad to have him back.'' Tim Borowski will be the man to step down from midfield.

Klinsmann could also make a change in defence after mistakes gave Costa Rica their two easy goals.

Poland coach Pawel Janas has a lot more to worry about.

Defeat against Ecuador led to calls from officials and former players and coaches to switch back from a five-man midfield to the 4-4-2 formation used in qualifying.

Janas has confirmed that he will make changes for the Germany game, although he has refused to give details.

Teams: Germany (4-4-2): 1-Jens Lehmann; 3-Arne Friedrich, 21-Christoph Metzelder, 17-Per Mertesacker, 16-Philipp Lahm; 18-Bernd Schneider, 8-Torsten Frings, 13-Michael Ballack, 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger; 20-Lukas Podolski, 11-Miroslav Klose Coach: Juergen Klinsmann Poland (4-5-1 or 4-4-2): 1-Artur Boruc; 6-Jacek Bak, 2-Mariusz Jop, 14-Michal Zewlakow, 4-Marcin Baszczynski; 8-Jacek Krzynowek, 21-Ireneusz Jelen (or 16-Arkadiusz Radomski), 10-Miroslaw Szymkowiak, 7-Radoslaw Sobolewski, 15-Euzebiusz Smolarek; 9-Maciej Zurawski Coach: Pawel Janas Referee: to be announced REUTERS AY PM1014

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