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Lehmann makes himself a big target


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


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.