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Lehmann makes himself a big target

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Lehmann clears in trainingWhen I was a keen but accident-prone goalkeeper growing up, the one piece of advice all my teachers and coaches used to give was: “Stand up when a player’s coming through on goal, and make yourself as big a target as possible.”

Jens Lehmann took that literally when he came into Germany’s news conference on Wednesday. The 38-year-old keeper, who has taken some stick from the media lately, said: “I’m going to stay standing up and give you all more surface area to aim at.”

Lehmann did look a little jittery when Germany played against Belarus in a recent friendly but he now says he’ll be fully concentrated, after finally sorting out his future with a move to VfB Stuttgart.

The big problem for Lehmann and the rest of the keepers at Euro 2008 could be the ball, which most people expect to move around quite a bit in the flight and hang in the air too much for comfort on crosses. (See here for a field test at Soccerlens).

Germany fans offer mixed views on their Euro chances

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Andrea Merkel

Schalke’s stadium was awash with black, red and gold on Saturday evening as thousands of Germany fans turned out in rainy Gelsenkirchen to give the national team a rousing send-off to Euro 2008.

Chancellor Angela Merkel was there but chose a lime green jacket and white trousers instead of a Germany shirt, tricolor wig and scarf. She also wisely avoided the face paints.

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