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Monday 11 December 2017

Low livid as 'mole' leaks German line-up to media

GERMANY are as preoccupied with ensuring they do not defeat themselves as worried what their semi-final opponents will do to them.

There is a mole in the German camp leaking Joachim Low's team selections, with captain Phillip Lahm branding the culprit a "disgrace".

While Low congratulated his side for their performance against Greece, he summoned his players to admonish them for allowing his personnel changes to reach the German media.

Low told his squad of the three changes he had made for Greece on Friday afternoon at 1.30pm. Mario Gomez, Thomas Müller and Lucas Podolski were left out. Within an hour, a German news agency was announcing the line-up and the surprise inclusion of Miloslav Klose, Andreas Schürrle and Marco Reus.

There are suspicions one of the 23 players is in treatment, nursing a guilty conscience, although Lahm shifted the responsibility to the players' advisers who may have been informed of the selection via their loose-tongued clients.

"It is an issue, I must admit it and I think now everyone should be aware who he passes the line-up to," Lahm said. "We must be extra careful now.

"It's a pity if leaks occur. The whole nation is behind us so it's a disgrace for the line-up to be in the public eye so early. The one with the problem is the guy who has done this because he is damaging the hopes of the entire nation."

The incident reflects the view Germany's greatest obstacles are internal as they plan beyond a Warsaw semi-final for a trip to Kiev.

A series of their players have lined up to reaffirm the view they possess the strongest group of players in Euro 2012, and their semi-final opponents will only be able to stop them by adopting a defensive approach.

That depth will be required again on Thursday if Sebastian Schweinsteiger is unable to shake off an ankle problem. Lahm, however, believes whatever changes are made will have no reduction in quality.

"We have 23 top players and the coach is spoilt for choice," Lahm said. "The strength of our squad was visible in the last two matches. We are content being in another semi but the objective is to win on Sunday."

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