GER 4 AUS 0: Moritz Volz’s Panini sticker album

MORITZ Volz, football’s most well-known David Hasselhof fan, is a brave man. The German told Radio Five Live he would be watching his country’s World Cup opener in an Australian pub in West London “for a laugh”.

“At the last World Cup, I was charging about Germany with a German wig on,” said the former Fulham defender. “I still have that. I’m trying to make up my mind whether I should wear it or not.”

If you’re a regular visitor to Volz’s website (and if you’re not, you should be), you’ll know that he likes his World Cup Panini sticker albums. His site’s design is based on a sticker album, and he managed to pick one up while he was doing media work in Hamburg for the Europa League final last month.

“You only have to look at the World Cup Panini album, which I have obviously got, to work out that Germany are lacking some star players at this World Cup,” Volz said during his radio interview.

Too true. No Michael Ballack (ankle), no Rene Adler (Bayer Leverkusen, goalkeeper, rib), no Christian Traesch (Stuttgart, midfielder, ankle), no Simon Rolfes (Bayer Leverkusen, defensive midfielder, knee) and no Heiko Westermann (Schalke defender, foot). Joachim Loew has not been able to take the 23 he would have chosen to South Africa.

But they still have Lukas Podolski and Miroslav Klose up front, and it did not take them long to give Volz plenty to smile about.

Podolski blasted the eighth-minute opener after a hint of offside in the build-up, Klose netted his 11th World Cup finals goal just before the half-hour.

Tim Cahill’s sending off for clattering Bastian Schweinsteiger (“A nothing challenge,” Australia captain Lucas Neill called it afterwards) ended any hope of an Aussie revival. Thomas Muller and Cacau ensured four German strikers got on the scoresheet. That’s what I call positive.

Germany absolutely breezed it. Of the teams to have played so far, they look by far the most convincing. Australia, wide open at the back, could be in for a short tournament.

Interviewed afterwards, Volz was buoyant.

“I am shocked,” he said, presumably from under his German wig. “The last time we started as well as this was at Italia 90, and you all know what happened then.”

The man with the Panini sticker album has spoken.

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