Germany ready for Turkey tussle
Turkey are just one step away from reaching their first UEFA European Championship final but they will find a formidable obstacle blocking their path at St. Jakob-Park in Basel in the shape of Joachim Löw's Germany.
• While the last four is previously uncharted territory for Turkey, the same certainly cannot be said of three-times European champions Germany who have won four of their five previous semi-finals in the competition. Yet if Turkey are underdogs, nobody will be underestimating Fatih Terim's side who have captured the imagination at UEFA EURO 2008™ with their ever more miraculous comebacks.
• After losing their opening game 2-0 to Portugal, Turkey revived their hopes by coming from behind to defeat co-hosts Switzerland, Semih Şentürk cancelling out a first-half Murat Yakin goal before Arda Turan snatched all three points two minutes into added time.
• If that was dramatic, Terim's team raised the bar even higher in their last Group A match as they fought back from two behind against the Czech Republic. Trailing to strikes from Jan Koller and Jaroslav Plašil, they halved the deficit through Arda's 75th-minute goal before Nihat Kahveci's quick-fire double on 87 and 89 minutes turned the game on its head.
• Turkey put their supporters' nerves through the shredder a third time in their quarter-final against Croatia. With the game goalless deep into extra time, Turkey fell behind in the 119th minute through an Ivan Klasnić header. Incredibly, they found an equaliser with the last kick of the match from Semih and duly prevailed 3-1 on penalties. Arda, Semih and Hamit Altıntop all converted their kicks before Rüştü Reçber saved from Mladen Petrić to put Turkey in the semi-finals.
• Germany began their campaign in Group B by defeating Poland 2-0 through two goals from Lukas Podolski but they then suffered a hiccup when losing 2-1 to Croatia, Podolski's 79th-minute effort scant consolation after Darijo Srna and Ivica Olić had struck for the opposition.
• Löw's men recovered sufficient composure to defeat co-hosts Austria 1-0 in Vienna, through Michael Ballack's stunning second-half free-kick, and claim second place in the section and they then raised to game to eliminate Portugal in the quarter-finals. Germany raced into a 2-0 lead in Basel through goals from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Miroslav Klose and although Nuno Gomes pulled one back, Ballack's headed third ensured a German victory despite Hélder Postiga's late reply for Portugal.
• Germany can now look forward to their first EURO semi-final since 1996 when they defeated England on penalties en route to winning the European crown.
• The rundown of the Mannschaft's semi-finals on the European stage is:
1972 Belgium W 2-1
1976 Yugoslavia W 4-2 (aet)
1988 Netherlands L 1-2
1992 Sweden W 3-2
1996 England W 1-1 (aet, 6-5 on pens)
• Since that EURO '96™ semi-final, Germany have contested two FIFA World Cup semi-finals, beating Korea Republic through a Ballack goal in Seoul in 2002 but losing 2-0 to Italy in Dortmund two summers ago.
• This is only the second semi-final appearance for Turkey in a major tournament, the first having come at the 2002 World Cup when Şenol Güneş's team lost 1-0 to Brazil in Saitama. There are two survivors of the side that played that night in the present squad: goalkeeper Rüştü and midfielder Emre Belözoglu. Defender Emre Aşık and injured forward Nihat were unused substitutes.
• Turkey will hope to do better than the last time they faced Germany on Swiss soil – and suffered two defeats at a cost of eleven goals conceded at the 1954 World Cup.
• The teams met in their opening game of the group stage with West Germany winning 4-1 in Berne. After both recorded a victory and a defeat – the Germans losing their second game 8-3 to Hungary, Turkey beating Korea Republic 7-0 – they contested a play-off to decide who would progress as the second-placed team behind the Hungarians.
• West Germany made no mistake, the eventual champions inflicting a 7-3 defeat on Turkey in Zurich as Max Morlock (3), Hans Schäfer (2) and Fritz and Ottmar Walter all found the net.
• Germany have held the upper hand in meetings down the years, recording eleven wins to Turkey's three with three games drawn.
• Yet Turkey have won two and drawn one of the three most recent encounters, including a 2-1 success when the teams last met in a friendly in Istanbul in October 2005. Halil Altıntop opened the scoring after 25 minutes before the sides traded late goals, debutant Nuri Sahin doubling the lead in the 89th minute before Oliver Neuville narrowed the arrears 60 seconds later.
• The teams for that game were:
Turkey: Volkan Demirel, Hamit Altıntop, Alpay Özalan, İbrahim Toraman, Ümit Özat (İbrahim Akın 79), Selçuk Şahin (Nuri Şahin 86), Hüseyin Çimşir, Yıldıray Baştürk (Ergün Penbe 46), Tümer Metin (Necati Ateş 67), Halil Altıntop (Serkan Balcı 46), Nihat Kahveci (Serhat Akın 84).
Germany: Oliver Kahn, Patrick Owomoyela, Per Mertesacker, Lukas Sinkiewicz, Marcell Jansen, Bernd Schneider, Torsten Frings (Sebastian Deisler 46), Tim Borowski (Mike Hanke 73), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Thomas Hitzlsperger 82), Lukas Podolski, Kevin Kuranyi (Oliver Neuville 46).
• Turkey also took four points off Germany in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2000™. Oliver Kahn's own goal gave them a 1-0 win in Bursa in October 1998 and 12 months later they earned a goalless draw in Munich.
• Germany's last victory against Turkey was in May 1992 when Rudi Völler registered the only goal in a friendly in Gelsenkirchen.
• Germany coach Löw had spells coaching in Turkish football with Fenerbahçe SK (1998/99) and Adanaspor AS (2000/01). During his year with Fenerbahçe, he counted Turkey goalkeeper Rüştü among his players and, moreover, twice faced off against Turkey coach Terim in Istanbul derbies. Terim's Galatasaray AS had the better of those matches, drawing 2-2 at Fenerbahçe before winning their home fixture 2-0.
• Terim oversaw a 2-0 aggregate win against BV Borussia Dortmund during Galatasaray's triumphant UEFA Cup run of 1999/00 – the first ever continental triumph by a Turkish club side. Emre Belözoglu was in the Galatasaray team that won 2-0 in Germany to come out on top in a fourth-round tie while Jens Lehmann was on the beaten team that night.
• Although Terim's Galatasaray won the 2000 UEFA Cup final on penalties, the Turkey national team had never contested a penalty shoot-out before last Friday’s quarter-final in Vienna.
• Germany by contrast have been involved in six shoot-outs previously. They lost the first against Czechoslovakia in the 1976 UEFA European Championship final but won the next five, beating France (1982 World Cup), Mexico (1986 World Cup), England (1990 World Cup), England (EURO '96™) and Argentina (2006 World Cup).
• Two members of the Turkey squad were born in Germany: Hakan Balta in Berlin and Hamit in Gelsenkirchen.
• Hamit began his career at regional league club SG Wattenscheid 09 before joining FC Schalke 04 in 2003. At Schalke, he played alongside Germany forward Kevin Kuranyi. He now plays his club football at FC Bayern München along with German internationals Marcell Jansen, Klose, Philipp Lahm, Podolski and Schweinsteiger.
• Germany captain Ballack scored past Turkey goalkeeper Volkan Demirel to help his Chelsea FC side eliminate Fenerbahçe from the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League. Ballack's goal was the first as Chelsea overturned a 2-1 first-leg deficit against Fenerbahçe with a 2-0 home win in a quarter-final tie that also featured Turkey's Mehmet Aurélio, Kazım Kazım and Semih.
• Turkish internationals Ayhan Akman, Servet Çetin, Emre Güngör, Mehmet Topal and Arda suffered at German hands during the 2007/08 season. They were part of the Galatasaray team beaten 5-1 on aggregate by Bayer 04 Leverkusen in the UEFA Cup Round of 32 in February. Germany midfielder Simon Rolfes was on the opposing side.
• Piotr Trochowski scored a late winner as Germany recorded a 2-1 victory against Turkey in the 2001/02 UEFA European Under-19 Championship preliminary round. Lahm also featured in the game. Germany went all the way to the final, where they lost 1-0 to Spain.
• In 2004, Hamit scored Turkey's goal in a 1-1 draw against Germany in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off second leg for the final tournament – although his side bowed out having lost the first game 1-0 in Germany. Lahm and Thomas Hitzlsperger were in the Germany side while Volkan Demirel and Servet also featured for Turkey.
• René Adler, Jansen and Mario Gómez were all in the Germany side whose European U19 Championship finals campaign was ended in the group stage by a 1-1 draw with Turkey in 2004.
• Germany were European champions last in 1996 having earlier lifted the continental crown as West Germany in 1972 and 1980. Runners-up in 1976 and 1992, they have appeared in every edition of the UEFA European Championship since the inception of the final round in 1980.
• Turkey are appearing among Europe's élite for the thFird time and their previous best performance was their run to the quarter-finals in 2000.
• The winners in Basel will be the designated home team when they face the winners of Thursday's semi-final between Russia and Spain in the final of UEFA EURO 2008™ in Vienna on Sunday 29 June.
Michael Ballack cannot wait for Wednesday