Germany v Portugal - Key Battles: Former United star vital

Cristiano Ronaldo Portugal

If Portugal are going to get something against Germany, then former Manchester United favourite Cristiano Ronaldo will need to be at his unstoppable best.

Cristiano Ronaldo v Philipp Lahm

It is no surprise as to who Portugal's main man is: captain Cristiano Ronaldo. The forward won the FIFA Ballon d'Or award last year and was important in getting his nation to Brazil with his hat-trick in their 4-2 aggregate win over Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden in November.

Ronaldo has been in great form for Real Madrid this season as well, helping them to the Copa Del Rey and the Champions League titles. However, he has been suffering with a knee injury of late, and although he is expected to start, it is unsure as to his level of condition and whether he could reach his outstanding potential.

Philipp Lahm will be certain to return to his natural full-back position in Salvador, after playing defensive midfield for the majority of the season for his club Bayern Munich. Naturally, as he is likely to return to right-back, it will be his main responsibility to cope with Ronaldo. If Portugal isolate Lahm from getting help from Sami Khedira and Jerome Boateng, then Ronaldo will fancy his chances of beating the 30-year-old and causing Germany great problems down their right.

Ronaldo is famous for cutting in onto his favoured right foot, and it will be up to Lahm to stopping the world's best player. However, if any full-back in world football is capable of stopping him, then it is Lahm.

Bastian Schweinsteiger v Joao Moutinho

In every football match, the midfield battle is always very important. This World Cup has proved to be full of goals, with over twice as many this year as that of four years ago at the same stage of the tournament. Therefore, Germany and Portugal's playmakers are integral to which team get on top in the match.

Bastian Schweinsteiger has been at the top of his game for many years now, helping Bayern dominate both domestically and in Europe. His experience of winning big matches could be an integral part of Germany's chances of claiming a fourth World Cup.

Monaco's Joao Moutinho is Portugal's creative central midfielder. It is his role to collect the ball and give it to Ronaldo et al in the best positions. He doesn't have the same big-game experience as Schweinsteiger, but he is capable of performing to the same standard. Portugal will be looking to him to create going forward, and if he is kept quiet by Schweinsteiger, then Portugal could struggle to free up Ronaldo in attack. 

Miroslav Klose v Bruno Alves

Miroslav Klose has an incredible World Cup record. He is Germany's top scorer in the tournament, and one more goal will make him the joint highest scorer in the World Cup alongside Brazilian legend Ronaldo. Klose always seems to save his best form for the international tournaments, and although he is 36, he will likely be leading Germany's attacks. 

Bruno Alves is Portugal's leader at the back. Alongside Real Madrid's Pepe, it is up to him to organise and lead the Portugal back-four and he will look to keep Klose quiet in front of goal.

These two may not be the players people will be looking forward to watching in this mouth-watering clash between two European giants, but whoever gets on top could be integral in deciding the winners.

If Klose can get on the scoresheet again in the World cup, Germany will be confident. On the other hand, should Alves keep the veteran quiet, then Portugal can feel confident of gaining revenge for their Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat.

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