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World Cup Group F

Erik Durm hails Germany unity

Erik Durm has praised the close-knit nature of the Germany squad ahead of their opening World Cup Group G clash with Portugal on Monday.

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The Borussia Dortmund left-back is savouring every moment of his first major international tournament after enjoying a meteoric rise since making his Bundesliga debut last year.

Under Juergen Klopp's tutelage, Durm, 22, has thrived, and he now feels the laid-back attitude of his teammates is helping him settle in at international level as well.

"We are very, very close together as a team," he told reporters at a news conference.

"We push each other. And the competition within the team is good. Nobody sees themselves as a substitute. We win and we lose together -- we stand together as a team."

Durm, who made his international debut against Cameroon at the start of the month, knows he cannot expect to walk straight into the team against Portugal, but he insists that whoever lines up against Paulo Bento's side will be as prepared as possible.

With the ground work that is being put in by the coaching staff and the squad, Durm believes Germany will have enough to get off to a winning start.

"We are getting ready with video analysis and talking with the coach. The respect is there, of course, but we also know how strong we are,'' he said.

"We must prevent the counter-attacks of the Portuguese. We will be perfectly prepared on Monday. There's no fear."

Late Germany call-up Shkodran Mustafi, who replaced the injured Marco Reus, is also keen to make the most of his time in Brazil and soak up everything he can to help assist his development.

"I will give everything to develop myself. If I'm needed, I'll be there for the team and try to help," he said.

The 22-year-old centre-back has made 51 appearances for Sampdoria since being released by Everton in 2012, and he credits his education in Serie A for enabling him to play a part in Brazil.

"I have enjoyed learning how to defend in the Italian league," he said. "That's one reason I think why I'm sitting here today with the national team."


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