Lars Bender has warned his Germany team-mates not to underestimate Greece in the Euro 2012 quarter-final on Friday, saying that the financial turmoil at home may inspire the Greek players to reach new heights.
The Bayer Leverkusen midfielder scored the winning goal against Denmark on Sunday as Germany qualified for the last eight, and believes the Euro 2004 champions will prove as hard to break down as the Danes.
"It will be a difficult task for us, but for them as well," he said. "It will be an uncomfortable match, for sure. The game against Greece will be like the one against Denmark though and we have to think about that and figure out solutions.
"We all know about the political situation in Greece. There were elections yesterday. It is difficult. The fact, that their team has qualified makes the people over there happy and forget everything that has happened in the last few months."
The 23-year-old stepped in for the suspended Jérôme Boateng at right-back against Denmark and was delighted to score his first international goal. "It was quite lucky that I happened to be in the right place at the right time but you don't stop to think about it, you just hit it," he said.
"It's true that I'm not used to playing in the [right-back] position but I played there in our warmup matches for this tournament and I did well. The manager believed in me and that's why I felt very much at ease playing there but my feet are firmly on the ground."
Bender added that his mobile "almost exploded" because of all the congratulatory messages he received, including one from his manager at Leverkusen, Sami Hyypia, who said that he could carry on playing right-back when he returned to his club. Bender replied "no thank you" but admitted that he would be happy to step in wherever the Germany coach, Joachim Löw, wants him to play.