Peter Pekarík is determined that a sore nose will not rob him of the chance of playing in Slovakia's game against Germany, the country where he has lived for the past six years.
Article top media content
Slovakia's Peter Pekarík will not let a troublesome nose get in the way of his chance to play at UEFA EURO 2016 – especially in a meeting with Germany, the nation where he plays his club football.
After finishing third in Group B, Slovakia will take on Germany in the round of 16 – a tie Hertha defender Pekarík is determined not to miss, even though he damaged his nose during his side's final group game against England.
"I have been playing in Germany for more than six years," he told EURO2016.com. "I am happy in Berlin and have a lot of friends there. It would be great to play against them again."
Slovakia beat the Germans 3-1 in a friendly game in Augsburg a month ago and would love to beat them again with the gloves off – though Pekarík's nose, which he broke in a Bundesliga game in February, remains an ongoing concern. He left the field covered in blood for treatment during the England match, but returned to finish the 0-0 draw.
"I need to say a big thanks to our medical staff," he said. "They stopped my bleeding almost immediately. They gave me a new shirt to replace the one that was covered in blood, and after a few minutes I was ready to play again."
A nose guard will be delivered to Pekarík on Friday but he is not expecting it to help too much. The 29-year-old tried playing with one in the Bundesliga, but not with much success.
"It lasted exactly three minutes," he said. "Then I had to throw it away, because I couldn't breathe properly. I will try to use this new one, but if it is no good again, then I will play without a mask."
Slovakia team doctor Ján Baťalík thinks that is a viable option. "There is just swelling around impact," he explained. "We are trying to find a different solution to protect his nose.
"We were thinking about a nose guard, but is hard to attach it to his face. For now, we would prefer a less dramatic intervention. To bandage it up a bit." Some risks, as Pekarík agrees, are worth taking.