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Germany benefit from Spanish influence

Assistant coach Hans-Dieter Flick has faith in Germany’s Spanish-based contingent ahead of their Euro 2012 qualifier against Austria on Friday.Playmaker Mesut Oezil and midfielder Sami Khedira starred in Germany’s run to the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, earning transfers to Real Madrid ahead of the 2010/11 season.

The pair have impressed during their first campaign in the Spanish capital, securing regular first-team roles as Real finished second in La Liga and won the Copa del Rey for the first time since 1993.

With the domestic season now completed, attention shifts to the task of qualifying for next year’s European Championships in Poland and the Ukraine.

Germany, leading qualifying Group A by five points ahead of Belgium, will look to consolidate their advantage when they meet fourth-placed Austria in Vienna.

And if assistant coach Flick’s high praise is any indication, expect Oezil and Khedira to play a key role in the match at the Ernst Happel Stadium.

“I was in Madrid three times this season and saw Sami and Mesut,” Flick said.

“I am proud that these players are high performers for Madrid and very important for the team.”

“Both were appreciated by the fans and Mourinho. We are proud to have players like them in our national team. Many didn’t expect that they would play key roles for Real. We are very proud.”

Oezil, who joined Real from Werder Bremen for a reported fee of 15 million euros, is delighted with his progress since arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu.

“For me it was great, I traded to Real, I developed there and have the confidence of my coach and we won the Cup,” Oezil said.

“I changed to Real to improve myself and win titles. We are on a good way with the team … second in the league, Cup winners, (a) good Champions League season.”

“We want to reach more next season with Real.”

Oezil is understandably satisfied with his national team’s performances – Germany have won all five Euro 2012 qualifying matches so far.

After playing Austria, they travel to Baku to take on second-bottom Azerbaijan on Tuesday.

Austria, eight points off the pace and three points back from second, must win in Vienna to have any hope of qualifying, and Oezil knows they will be a tricky opponent.

“With the national team, it’s also great,” Oezil said.

“We won all games, now we have two important games, we want win for sure. For Austria it’s the last chance, they will try their best, it will be a tough game. I am convinced that we will win the game.”

Article title: Germany benefit from Spanish influence

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