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Germany vs. Italy: Euro 2012 Semifinal To Feature Andrea Pirlo, Mesut Ozil

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Germany's Philipp Lahm, left, celebrates after scoring during the Euro 2012 quarterfinal match against Greece in Gdansk, Poland, Friday, June 22, 2012.
Germany's Philipp Lahm, left, celebrates after scoring during the Euro 2012 quarterfinal match against Greece in Gdansk, Poland, Friday, June 22, 2012.

By Karthick Arvinth, Goal.com

Joachim Low's in-form side will be aiming to defy history and secure its first ever competitive victory over the 1968 winner in Warsaw's National Stadium on Thursday.

PROBABLE LINE-UPS

GERMANY
Neuer
Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm
Khedira, Schweinsteiger
Reus, Ozil, Schurrle
Klose

ITALY
Buffon
Abate, Barzagli, Bonucci, Balzaretti
Marchisio, Pirlo, Nocerino
Motta
Balotelli, Cassano

Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger has overcome a lingering ankle problem and will be available for his country's semifinal showdown with Italy. Borussia Dortmund's Ilkay Gundogan, who is yet to make an appearance at Euro 2012, suffered a knock to his ankle during training on Saturday and is a minor doubt.

Coach Joachim Low may opt to tinker with his line-up again after completely overhauling his forward line for the quarterfinal win over Greece. Veteran striker Miroslav Klose is likely to retain his place up front ahead of Mario Gomez, while midfielder Lars Bender may get the nod over Jerome Boateng at rightback.

Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini has returned to training after a hamstring injury and could return to the starting lineup in place of his Juventus teammate Leonardo Bonucci. Azzurri boss Cesare Prandelli is also sweating over the fitness of Daniele De Rossi and Ignazio Abate after the duo picked up muscle injuries in the penalty shootout victory over England. Christian Maggio is suspended.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Thiago Motta has recovered from a thigh problem and may return to the side in place of Riccardo Montolivo.

DID YOU KNOW?
  • Germany has won a record 15 successive competitive games, breaking the 14-match international record previously held by Spain (2010-11), Netherlands (2008-10) and France (2002-04).
  • Die Mannschaft have never beaten Italy in a competitive fixture. Their record in seven head-to-head meetings in major tournaments is D4, L3.
  • Three-time champion Germany has won all but one of its six European Championship semifinals.
  • Joachim Low's side has scored at least once in each of its last 20 games.
  • Italy has won just one of its last seven matches in regulation time.
  • The Azzurri are meeting Germany for the 31st time, with their record in previous encounters reading W14, D9, L7. They have not lost to the Germans since a 2-0 friendly defeat in June 1995.
  • Italy is yet to lose a competitive game under Cesare Prandelli, recording nine wins and five draws to date.
  • Andrea Pirlo (pictured right) attempted 146 passes in the quarterfinal against England, completing 117 - the most by any player at Euro 2012, extra-time included.

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