Germany vs Poland: Confident Poles happy with the motivating Lewandowski, not the goal-scoring one

Adam Nawałka's side head into their second Euro 2016 match with the belief that they can do damage - and they certainly can.

Germany vs Poland: Confident Poles happy with the motivating Lewandowski, not the goal-scoring one
It's all about team spirit - with Lewandowski's role more of a motivator, not a goal-scorer. (Photo: Foto Olimpik/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Poland's first ever win at a European Championships on Sunday was massively overshadowed by so many negative spins on the game.

Be it criticisms of Northern Ireland's far from adventurous game plan, the Poles failing to win by a bigger scoreline, or the misses of Arkadiusz Milik - before his decisive goal - Adam Nawałka's side were certainly not given the credit they deserved.

With them expected by many to be a one-team team at Euro 2016, they certainly silenced their critics with a comfortable win despite the anonymity of Robert Lewandowski in Nice.

Poland show it's a team game 

Every single player played their part for Nawałka's side on Sunday, with impressive performances throughout the side.

From the direct and confident showing by teenager Bartosz Kapustka to the surprisingly sharp contributions of Jakub Błaszczykowski, it was a particularly positive attacking display from Biało-czerwoni, who created a whole host of chances - even if they couldn't finish them.

Milik, meanwhile, reminded everyone that Poland have in fact brought more strikers with them than just Lewandowski, as he stole the show from his more highly-rated countryman.

Grzegorz Krychowiak's dirty work earned him the man of the match accoladeŁukasz Piszczek was as exciting as always and Kamil Glik kept an admittedly untested back line well-organised.

From one net to the other, there were only positives to take as the Eastern European nation asserted their authority in a display that was only pleasing to the eye.

Despite a difficult domestic season,
Despite a difficult domestic season, Jakub Błaszczykowski was superb on Sunday. (Photo: Foto Olimpik/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

This togetherness in the camp and on the pitch will be key tomorrow too. Already in Nawałka's pre-match presser, he expressed the pride that is felt in the team, while Błaszczykowski showed their confidence by insisting Poland want to dominate the game. The attitude is there, now it's about application.

Where togetherness and chemistry will be most important, arguably, is up front. The forward pairing of Milik and Lewandowski will be key for a team that, despite what they say, probably will not see the majority of the ball.

Both players are capable of holding the ball up, but also of making runs off their teammate, meaning they can mix things up tomorrow to catch Germany out. There will be no predictable and repetitive plan to launch the ball to one then drop it off to the other, meaning Die Mannschaft will have to be on their toes.

Germany are likely to be focused solely on Lewandowski too, and so it could be Milik's time to shine again with him to be afforded much more space than his teammate.

At the back though, Glik will need to ensure his defence is just as importantly on the same page as they prepare to come up against some of the world's best forwards.

Completely contrasting challenge - but not an impossible one

The Germany game could not be much different to the Northern Ireland one. The two tasks are the complete opposite.

The latter was almost like a training exercise for Poland as they passed and passed and passed in front of a sturdy back line, looking for a way through.

Against Germany, however, they will really be put to the sword, matched up against players of the highest quality who don't only have the confidence to complement their abilities, but the winning mentality too.

While their defence was not tested against Northern Ireland, it will be here and it will have to be ready.

However, while Germany's attack is their biggest strength, particularly because it is supported by the midfield cast of a manager's dreams, their defence is not the greatest. 

In the centre, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng will be tough to breach, but out wide they are nothing special. Left-back Jonas Hector may be 26-years-old, but with just 15 caps to his name he is far from experienced at this level.

Yet, the Germans' biggest weakness is on their right hand side, where Benedikt Höwedes has been operating since Philipp Lahm's retirement. 

Naturally a centre-half, Höwedes lacks the pace required to be a full-back - or an effective one at that - and will be the man Poland target tomorrow, particularly given their strengths out wide.

It's likely that young Kapustka will be up against the right-back, and he will be urged to run at him as much as possible, using all his pace, trickery and all-round talent to help Poland get in behind to create chances - chances they must take if they are to beat the world champions.

Poland will look to isolate Benedikt Höwedes tomorrow. (Photo: Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Poland will look to isolate Benedikt Höwedes tomorrow. (Photo: Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)

Fearlessness to be crucial

It's with this type of football - direct and confident football - that Poland can emerge victorious tomorrow.

When Germany were up against the Ukraine, they were caught out by small moments of fearlessness from their opponents - when they went hammer and tongs at Löw's side. If Nawałka is to have picked up anything from that game, it's that confidence will go a long way against the Germans, and fear will not.

However, he knows this already. That's why Poland beat Germany in qualifying for Euro 2016 - comfortably too, at 2-0.

As soon as you fear an opponent, you are halfway to losing. Of course, this is not to say that Poland should go out thinking they will wipe the floor with Germany, but they should believe that they can.

And they do. Nawałka has already told the media how much self-belief is in the camp, and we will need to see that in full tomorrow for Löw and co. to be wondering what on earth has hit them.