Germany, Romania Look For Strong Start

24.09.2007

By David Hein

Both Germany and Romania realise their opener in Lanciano is a must-win encounter as neither are expected to challenge for top spot in Group B.

Both coaches have had months to prepare their sides for this critical showdown. So expect a highly competitive match.

Last Time Out: Germany come to Italy from Group C of qualifying round, where they finished behind Croatia and ahead of Poland, while Romania show up in Italy after taking second in Group D trailing Serbia but atop Finland.

Key Match-Up: Germany have two big players in Linda Fröhlich and Martina Weber from the WNBA. Neither have seen a lot of playing time in the United States so both should be rested - but perhaps out of form. Romania's Maria Pascalau and Gabriela Toma will need big games to neutralise the tall Germans.

X-Factor: Romanian guard Annemarie Parau played for coach Marc Silvert in the Belgian league and will be called upon to lead the Romanian attack. Her ability to stop German guard Dorothea Richter from distributing the ball could be a major factor.

Stats: Germany's trio of Fröhlich, Weber and Anne Breitreiner accounted for 65% of Germany's points in their final four warm-up matches against France, Serbia, Italy and Croatia. If any of them are kept under control, Germany may struggle finding other scoring options.

Sounding Off:  German coach Imre Szittya about playing Romania: "They are always an uncomfortable opponent. But if we want to advance, we definitely have to beat Romania."

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