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Germans focus on upsetting Ronaldo

Germany is bidding for a fourth European crown in a tough group that also includes Netherlands and Denmark.

Cristiano Ronaldo

GDANSK - Germany know they must curb Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo's dizzying runs down the left in their Euro 2012 Group B opener on Saturday, but their shaky defence has yet to show it is up to the task.

Coach Joachim Loew has a wealth of midfield talent, but far fewer options in defence with a final decision on his centre backs still pending as Germany bid for a fourth European crown in a tough group that also includes Netherlands and Denmark.

While Holger Badstuber looks set to start at the heart of the German backline, speculation over his partner continues.

Fellow Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng is likely to switch to the right, a position he is uncomfortable with, to make way for central defender Per Mertesacker.

Lars Bender could also an option at right back, Loew said on Thursday.

The experienced Mertesacker, however, has hardly played since an ankle injury in February and looked completely out of place in the 5-3 friendly defeat by Switzerland in late May.

Captain Philipp Lahm will shift from his usual slot on the right to left back which is not his preferred position.

"We will need to talk a lot on the pitch and to support each other," Mertesacker said. "I am experienced in understanding what the team needs."

"We have angered him (Ronaldo) a few times in the past and we must do it again. What we should not do is give him too many one-on-one situations."