Two perennially successful soccer nations prepare to square off for a trip to the Euro 2012 finals in this week's second semifinal match.
As Germany flexed their scoring muscles and Italy squeezed through the quarterfinals, the two teams report to the Polish capital to engage in what will be a thrilling game between two very evenly matched teams.
Kickoff is set for 2:45 eastern time on June 28, and will be broadcast In the U.S on ESPN.
Here is a breakdown of what each team needs to win the match and advance to the finals:
Germany: The most dominant team in Euro history is looking to reach the finals for the seventh time after previously winning 3 titles and 3 runner ups. The Germans are led by the best Midfield core of any team, particularly starring team captain Philipp Lahm. Going forward, Mesut Ozil and leading scorer Mario Gomez have combined for three goals and four assists. Ozil, 23, has shown great maturity throughout this tournament and will continue to show his class through his speed and incisive passing. The attacking midfielder had this to say about facing Italy and the prospect of winning the title:
The other teams have great respect for us. Our goal is to bring the European title back to Germany, he told Corriere dello Sport. We are here for this. We can beat Italy and we want the title.
However for this to come to fruition, Bayern Keeper Manuel Neuer must continue to prove himself as one over the world's premier goalkeepers.
Italy: The Azzurri required penalties to oust England in the quarterfinals, but that should not detract from their dominance over the 120 minutes. However, Italy will be concerned by the failure to make the most of their creative play throughout the tournament. If the Italians want any chance, Balotelli must capitalize on the many opportunities afforded by the wondrous Andrea Pirlo. Of course, Daniele de Rossi will also be crucial in trying to prevent Germany's impressive midfield from controlling the match.
Prediction: Italy will pay for Balotelli's continued failures in front of goal. The German midfield will dominate on the time of possession and leave the Italians few scoring chances. Mesut Ozil said his team was going to win the championship; they will take one step closer by defeating Italy 2-1.