Germany v Poland: Boateng plays down Lewandowski rivalry
Jerome Boateng has denied suggestions there was any lingering resentment towards Robert Lewandowski ahead of their meeting at Euro 2016 on Thursday.
The Bayern Munich team-mates had a much-publicised bust-up in training in May 2015 when Boateng took exception to a strong Lewandowski challenge with then club coach Pep Guardiola sending them both back to the changing rooms.
The pair have come into direct contact since, in September 2015 as Germany beat Poland 3-1 in qualifying, and Boateng, speaking ahead of their Group C clash at the Stade de France, insists the matter is now resolved.
He said: "That's the way it is in football. If you play against people, it is normal that sometimes you tangle with each other.
"I am a defender and he's a top striker. We play together at Bayern and, for sure, I'll celebrate with him when he scores there or we have success together.
"And it's normal that we sometimes clash in training. We play football, it's a contact sport.
"We know we are playing against each other and we both want to give our best for our country. For sure, we'll both tackle each other but overall it will be fair. After the game, it will all be good."
Although much of the focus will inevitably fall on Lewandowski due to his long connection with German football after prolific spells with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern, Boateng insists Poland possess other attacking threats as well.
He added: "First of all it's important that we win the second match too. We do know Poland well, we played against them twice in qualification, two difficult games. They are a good opponent.
"If we bring our game through I'm positive. I think we can win against them but we have to be careful. They have good offensive players and not only Lewandowski."
Germany overcame Ukraine 2-0 on Sunday while Poland edged out Northern Ireland 1-0, meaning a second victory here will all but secure qualification for the knockout stages.
Poland have a major injury worry heading into the game, though, with first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny struggling with a thigh injury.
Bogdan Zajac, a member of Adam Nawalka's backroom staff, said on Tuesday: "There is no denying that Wojciech's injury is quite serious, the coming days will determine whether he has a chance of playing against Germany.
"He is in constant contact with the doctor and physiotherapists and they are working around the clock. If his condition does not improve we will take the appropriate decision. It will be made within the staff and the journalists will be the last to know.
"We need players who are 100 per cent. If we are not certain it will give a chance to another goalkeeper."
Key Opta Stats:
- Germany have won their last six games at major tournaments (five at World Cup 2014, one at EURO 2016), the longest run in their history.
- Poland have only won one of their 20 games against Germany (drawing six, losing 13), it was in October 2014 (Euro qualifiers).
- Germany have kept eight clean sheets in their last 12 games against Poland.
- Poland have never beaten Germany at a major tournament (drawing one, losing three). They’ve also never scored against them in those tournaments.
- Robert Lewandowski has scored two goals in his three appearances against Germany. He didn’t have a single shot in his first game at this year’s tournament against Northern Ireland.