No special plans for Ronaldo – Podolski

The Arsenal star has praised the quality of the forward but insists there will be no set game plan to mark him out of the game

Germany will be making no special plans to thwart Cristiano Ronaldo in their World Cup opener against Portugal, according to Lukas Podolski.

The two teams go head-to-head on Monday night at the Arena Fonte Nova, with Ronaldo poised to start after recovering from the injury problems that have blighted his preparations for the tournament.

The 29-year-old almost single-handedly fired Portugal to the competition with a stunning hat-trick in the second leg of their play-off clash with Sweden and has since won the Champions League with Real Madrid.

But, with Germany tipped by many as potential winners, Podolski is insistent that Joachim Low’s men have not prepared any special measures in a bid to keep him shackled.

He told reporters: “We’re preparing for Portugal and not for a player.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is of course an exceptional player and a danger to us. But we also have players of great quality. If we can find our stride then we will win the game.”

The Arsenal star, who was named the best young player at the 2006 World Cup, could start in place of the injured Marco Reus on Monday, after the winger was ruled out of the tournament.

Germany will hope to avoid the same fate as Spain, who were stunned 5-1 by Netherlands after being named among the favourites, and Podolski says that result serves as a warning.

He said: “We’re focused on our group – we are not automatically through. Portugal are a tough opponent. But we want to make a statement and record a good result.”

The heat in Brazil has been a major talking point in the pre-competition build-up, with temperatures soaring in the country, and Podolski has urged his team-mates to be streetwise.

“It could be 50, 55 or 70 degrees. We have to be smart because you cannot run up and down the pitch all game long in that heat. But we are prepared and focused.”

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