Germany coach Loew expects Özil to ‘explode’ at Euro 2012

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Germany celebrates.

Germany's Lukas Podolski, second left, is celebrated by, from left, Mario Gomez, Philipp Lahm and Mesut Ozil after scoring the opening goal during the Euro 2012 soccer championship Group B match between Denmark and Germany in Lviv, Ukraine, Sunday, June 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Watch out for a blast on the field the next time Germany plays at Euro 2012.

Germany coach Joachim Loew says playmaker Mesut Özil will “explode” in the quarterfinals against Greece.

The Real Madrid midfielder has had a quiet tournament so far, but Loew expects Özil to improve dramatically on Friday in Gdansk.

“The big explosion of Özil will still come,” Loew said. “At the 2010 World Cup it also happened after the group stage.

“I have the feeling that it’s coming now again.”

Özil did not train with the team Tuesday, but Loew did not explain why. But the coach said Özil — plus Lars Bender and Bastian Schweinsteiger, who also missed training — would be fit for Friday’s game.

In Germany’s three wins so far, Özil had one assist. He was voted man of the match in the opening 1-0 win over Portugal, although the goal came from Mario Gomez.

“What’s been missing from his game is to be open more of the time and to pass more in the attack,” Loew said.

One of the best aspects of Özil’s game is his ability to split defenses with passes into space, something that he’s rarely displayed so far at this tournament.

But Loew also praised Özil for covering a lot of ground in all his matches. Özil is considered Germany’s most creative player.

Özil played a major role in Germany’s demolitions of England (4-1) and Argentina (4-0) at the World Cup in South Africa two years ago. He also scored the only goal against Ghana that secured Germany’s slot in the knockout stage.

Born in Gelsenkirchen to Turkish parents, Özil got his first professional contract at 17 and played 30 Bundesliga matches as a teenager for Schalke.

He later moved to Werder Bremen and scored the winning goal in the German Cup final over Bayer Leverkusen in 2009.

He was “man of the match” in the final of the Under-21 European Championship when Germany beat England and made his full Germany debut the same year, 2009. In 36 games for Germany, he has scored eight goals.

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