Lahm 'relaxed' over backline place
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Germany captain Philipp Lahm has challenged his team to start the UEFA EURO 2012 with a bang when they open their Group B campaign against Portugal on Saturday.

As one of the pre-tournament favourites, Germany arguably arrive at EURO 2012 on the back foot after suffering a shock 5-3 defeat by Switzerland and with UEFA Champions League disappointment hanging over some of their stars.

Eight of the Bayern Munich team which lost the Champions League final to Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out a fortnight ago are in the Germany squad. While Lahm insists memories of their Munich misery have quickly ceased, the defeat did nothing for confidence, especially in the wake of the loss to the Swiss in Basel when a weakened German team was beaten.

Despite having breezed through the qualifying rounds with a perfect ten wins from ten, Germany struggled to take their chances in their final warm-up match on Thursday in a 2-0 friendly win over Israel, much to Lahm's frustration.

"We have sensational quality in our squad, we just have to show it now," said the 28-year-old referring to their clash with Portugal in Lviv, Ukraine. "That not everything worked perfectly is completely normal as we haven't played together as a group for two weeks. It is important we hit the ground running in our first game."

It is important we hit the ground running in our first game. 
Philipp Lahm, Germany captain

As the only German to play every minute of their 2010 FIFA World Cup™ campaign in South Africa, Lahm took over the captain's armband after former Chelsea star Michael Ballack was ruled out on the eve of the tournament with injury.

Equally at home at right or left-back, Lahm found himself on the left against Israel, having spent most of the season on the right for his club Bayern. Germany coach Joachim Low admits he is still toying with the idea of where to play his captain at the European championship. "Next week we will decide where Lahm will play and that's where he'll play for the entire tournament," said Low.

Lahm has said he is comfortable on either side. "I am very relaxed about the whole thing, I believe it is a big advantage to be able to plan on both sides," said Lahm. "I know I have played at the top level on either side of our defence."

Having made his debut in 2004, Lahm has amassed 86 caps, scoring four goals in the process, including the first of the 2006 FIFA World Cup: a dazzling strike from the edge of the area against Costa Rica. And, his 90th-minute goal in the EURO 2008 semi-final sealed Germany's 3-2 win over Turkey before a goal from Fernando Torres handed Spain a 1-0 win over the Germans in the final.