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Wednesday, 14 June, 2000, 22:39 GMT 23:39 UK
Woodcock: Infighting is main problem
Lothar Matthaus
Matthaus: The focus of heated debate in Germany
There are few Englishmen better informed than Tony Woodcock to assess the mood in Germany before Saturday's crunch match against England.

Here the former Nottingham Forest, Cologne, Arsenal and England star, who still lives and works in Germany, shares his thoughts with BBC Sport Online.

The German media's reaction to the opening match against Romania was bad, very bad. And it was bad because the team did not play very well.

But funnily enough that was their best performance for 12 months.

The manager Erich Ribbeck has been under fire since he took the job, mainly because he was not the first choice. And if Germany fail here he will definitely come in for a lot of stick.

For me the question is whether Lothar Matthaus is fit or not, not what one or two of the other players have to say about him.

Tony Woodcock
Woodcock: Team spirit is poor
If Matthaus was say 80% fit a good team, playing together, could compensate for that missing 20%. That is the real problem for Germany, they are not a good team right now.


It is the sniping within the camp that makes me worry about Germany's chances in this competition, but looking for someone to blame is very much part of the mentality here.

If those players who have had something to say about Matthaus concentrated on their own games, the side would be a lot better off.

Jens Nowotny (who has alledgedly demanded Matthaus' libero role), for example, has had a very good domestic season, but doing it at the higher level is another thing entirely. He has to prove he can do it at the international level.

All these criticisms of Matthaus should have been kept within the camp.

Tournament team

Having said that, I am still fairly certain Germany can proceed in Euro 2000. They are a tournament team, always have been.

I do not think they will miss Oliver Bierhoff too badly either. They have two very good strikers in Ulf Kirsten and Carsten Janker.

I think Janker could be particularly dangerous, so as an Englishman I would be quite pleased if he did not play on Saturday.

I am stuck between two camps here. Everyone in Germany is saying how they do not have a chance against us, and everything I read in the English press is saying how bad we are.

I do not know if it is just that both sides are showing respect for the other, but I am sure it is going to be a great game.

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See also:

14 Jun 00 | Germany
Bierhoff blow for Germans
14 Jun 00 | Germany
Matthaus strikes back
12 Jun 00 | Euro2000
Ribbeck happy with lucky point
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