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Davis Cup: Under-dogs Germany look to topple Spain (AFP)

  • 10.04.2008
BREMEN, Germany, April 10, 2008 (AFP)

Germany captain Patrick Kuehnen is hoping his side will prove to be the surprise package of the Davis Cup World Group quarter-finals when they face Spain in this weekend's last-eight clash.

Germany are without former world number two Tommy Haas but still face the might of Spain's top-ten players Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer in the north German city of Bremen from Friday through to Sunday.

"We are outsiders, but we want to surprise them," Kuehnen told German sports agency SID as his team prepare to face the 2000 and 2004 Davis Cup winners. "Things have been going well in training and the team are all 100 per cent fit."Nadal, ranked number two in the world, lost the final of the ATP tournament in Miami last weekend 6-4, 6-2 to Russian Nikolay Davydenko and his presence in Bremen will boost the Spanish.

In contrast, Germany have Philipp Kohlschreiber, 25th in the world, as their highest-ranked player alongside the likes of Nicolas Kiefer, Michael Berrer and doubles specialist Philipp Petzschner.

"We know the Spaniards hit the ball well," said Kiefer, back in the Germany team for the first time since February 2006 because of a wrist injury. "If the spectators get behind us in the stands, we have a chance.

"We have to use our home advantage."Spanish captain Emilio Sanchez said his side fully respect their opponents. "It is a difficult tie for us," he said.

"The biggest problem for us is that the Germans will be motivated in front of their home fans." Although the Germans lead the Spanish 9-4 in matches played over the last 14 years, Spain are over-whelming favourites to reach the semi-finals.