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Germany wary of potential Switzerland slip-up

Yannick Schwery says the time has come for Switzerland to show what they are made of in their semi-final against a Germany side that feel they also have room for improvement.

Bettina Wiegmann and Yannick Schwery at Tuesday's press conference in Cervia
Bettina Wiegmann and Yannick Schwery at Tuesday's press conference in Cervia ©Sportsfile

Germany are powerhouses at this level but will need little reminder of the 2009 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship when a 3-0 defeat by Ramona Bachmann-inspired Switzerland ended their campaign in the group stage. There were no such hiccups en route to the last four this time, Maren Meinert's side advancing with a 100% record; Switzerland, beaten by Italy in Group A, needed a final day draw with Russia to join them.

What the coaches say
• Bettina Wiegmann, Germany assistant
We are happy to come out of our group with nine points but we are expecting a tough match. You can never underestimate Switzerland because they are always well prepared and have good technical players, as they proved in 2009 when they beat us [3-0]. Poor finishing has been a problem for us, as it was in the second qualifying round when our conversion rate was not very good. Hopefully, it will improve but tomorrow might come a bit too soon in that respect. The pressure of being favourites is a challenge.

• Yannick Schwery, Switzerland
I remember in 1982 Italy drew against Cameroon in the group stages and went on to win the [FIFA] World Cup. Like them, we have not played well yet, we haven't shown what we are capable of but now the time has come. We didn't do ourselves justice at the last World Cup in Germany either so now we want to show what we can do. We need to improve in midfield, where we lose possession too freely, and up front we have run out of ideas. We will miss [the injured] Chantal Fimian, but the girls reacted very well against Russia after she went off.

Route to the semi-final
Germany: 3-1 Norway, 1-0 Spain, 2-1 Netherlands
Switzerland: 4-1 Belgium, 0-1 Italy, 0-0 Russia

Last three meetings
16/07/09: Switzerland 3-0 Germany – group stage; Minsk, Belarus
13/04/06: Switzerland 2-2 Germany – friendly; Winterthur
19/07/05: Germany 5-2 Switzerland – group stage; Buk, Hungary

Key players
• Ramona Petzelberger, Germany
An assured presence in midfield, Germany's captain and playmaker has led by example in Italy. She has pace, an eye for the killer pass and experience of European Championship glory with the U17s in 2009.

• Pascale Küffer, Switzerland
Needing a point against Russia to reach the last four, Küffer put on a courageous last stand to secure a 0-0 draw. "She saved us," said Switzerland coach Schwery, a former goalkeeper himself.

UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship pedigree
Germany – winners, 2002 2006 2007
Switzerland – semi-finals, 2009 2011