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HomeBundesligaHow "Chief" Xhaka rates his European Championship opponents Germany

How “Chief” Xhaka rates his European Championship opponents Germany

Granit Xhaka is celebrated in Leverkusen, but his national team is criticized in his native Switzerland. After the group draw for the EURO, the Bayer professional warns against the struggling DFB team

He is showered with praise. From day one after joining Bayer 04 from Arsenal FC in the summer, Granit Xhaka has taken on the role of leading man for the current Bundesliga leaders. On and off the pitch, the Swiss sets the pace for the Werkself.

The 31-year-old is the key transfer for Leverkusen’s sporting rise this season. So it came as no surprise that the DFB sports director was full of praise for the strategist after the group draw for EURO 2024, in which Switzerland is one of the German team’s group opponents.

“He is the chief. He’s not only that for Switzerland, but also in Leverkusen,” said the former Bayer 04 managing director, who as DFB sports director still has an office in the south stand of the Bay-Arena and continues to keep a close eye on “his” club.

A judgment that Xhaka naturally likes. “When Rudi Völler says something like that, it makes you proud,” explained the 31-year-old after Bayer 04’s 1:1 draw against Borussia Dortmund, adding: “The recognition in Germany is definitely different to that in Switzerland. I’m criticized more there than here. Why and why is another topic. “

Swiss national team comes in for criticism

In his home country, the six-man from Leverkusen and his team-mates have come in for criticism as captain of the Swiss national team because Murat Yakin’s side have delivered anything but convincing performances in the European Championship qualifiers, especially of late. Nevertheless, the Swiss have made it through to EURO 2024 in Germany, where they will compete in a group with the DFB team.

A constellation that certainly appeals to Xhaka. “We’re already looking forward to playing against Germany, against the hosts. There have already been a few jokes in the dressing room,” reveals the midfielder, who was delighted with the draw.

“It’s a great group: we’re playing Scotland for the first time in a long time, Hungary too,” says Xhaka, “and Switzerland are playing Germany for the first time at a European Championship.” A historic moment – and not an insurmountable task for Switzerland in sporting terms either

“Germany is a dangerous team “

However, Xhaka warns against Julian Nagelsmann’s team. “Germany are a dangerous team, despite how things are going at the moment, they have a lot of quality, also thanks to our Leverkusen players who are there,” said Xhaka, referring to his team-mates Florian Wirtz, Jonathan Tah, Jonas Hofmann and Robert Andrich.

The Swiss wishes both nations a successful EURO. “Hopefully we Swiss will play a good European Championship first and then hopefully the Germans too,” he says. Incidentally, the last time they met in a major tournament was at the 1966 World Cup, when the DFB team defeated the Swiss 5:0 in the preliminary round. A result that is not to be expected on June 23, but would certainly earn Xhaka and Co. harsh criticism at home again.

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