- Germany looking to get over Italian hex.
- Neuer, Boateng, Löw in confident mood ahead of clash in Bordeaux.
- Germany beat Italy 4-1 in March friendly in Munich.
Germany face Italy in the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2016 on Saturday night (kick-off: 20:00CEST/18:00GMT), with the world champions looking to reach the last four of a European Championship for the third successive tournament and simultaneously to bury a decade-old hex.
Die Nationalmannschaft have failed to beat Italy in the sides' last eight meetings at a major tournament, a run stretching back to a goalless draw at the FIFA World Cup in Chile in 1962.
The Squadra Azzurra knocked Germany out of UEFA EURO 2012 at the semi-final stage, Mario Balotelli netting a brace in a 2-1 triumph in Kiev.
Germany did prevail 4-1 in a friendly at the Allianz Arena in March, however, and although Jerome Boateng missed that one through injury, the FC Bayern München centre-back is approaching this last-eight clash in confident mood.
"I'm not worrying day and night about the Italian team," Boateng said at a press conference on Thursday. "The preparation is always the same. The important thing is that we don't force our game too much. We have to find solutions, but we won't just run blindly."
Germany coach Joachim Löw shared Boateng's relaxed attitude, insisting that there was "no trauma" for his nation when they face Italy – who will be without Antonio Candreva and the suspended Thiago Motta - a view also echoed by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
"We're taking this game as it comes," said Neuer, 30, who has captained Germany throughout the tournament and has kept a clean sheet in each of his last five outings. "We don’t need to start thinking back to 2012; the teams have changed a bit since then."
Indeed, Germany have been crowned world champions in the interim, and comfortably navigated a group containing Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland at this tournament, before putting in their most accomplished display yet to beat Slovakia 3-0 in round of 16.
Yet to concede a goal in France, there is plenty of bullishness in the German camp that the Italian hex could finally come to an end in Bordeaux.
"No team enjoys playing Germany," said Neuer. "We can impose our game on Italy. Yes, the Italians may have surprised Spain and attacked them, but you could see in the last half-hour or so that they didn't have as much power. In this game in particular it will be important who scores first."
To that end, Boateng left open the intriguing possibility that Germany might switch to a back three for the first time this tournament in order to match up with Antonio Conte's side. "So far we've played with a back four and that’s worked well," he said. "But we're capable of playing both."
Germany: Neuer (c)– Kimmich, Boateng, Hummels, Hector – Kroos, Khedira – Müller, Özil, Draxler - Gomez
Coach: Joachim Löw
Italy: Buffon (c) - Barzagli, Bonucci, Chiellini - Florenzi, Sturaro, Parolo, Giaccherini, De Sciglio - Pelle, Eder
Coach: Antonio Conte