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German team manager Oliver Bierhoff warned his players on Friday to avoid a repeat in the FIFA World Cup™ final with Argentina of the ugly scenes that marred the end of the two sides' quarter-final at Germany 2006.
Bierhoff, who has been in the post since 2004, found himself in the thick of it when punches were thrown after Argentina lost a tense penalty shoot-out to Germany. Of the three players punished for the punch up just Maxi Rodriguez remains.
"The Argentinians are very warm people and great hosts, but on the pitch they have a bit of a personality change and get fired up," Bierhoff said. "They have fire in their eyes, which we will have to be ready for and not provoke them.
"They play hard, aggressive physical football, which means we can't steer away from our football philosophy and must focus on what we have to do," added the 46-year-old former international striker, who was a member of the side that won the UEFA EURO 1996 title and played in the 2-0 defeat by Brazil in the 2002 World Cup final.
Bierhoff says Argentina will be a different proposition compared to hosts Brazil after Germany ran riot to claim a remarkable 7-1 semi-final win in Belo Horizonte.
"It will be a different game compared to the semi-final, they defend deep, leave little space to run into and wait for (Lionel) Messi to show a moment of magic," Bierhoff said. "We have to play our own game, run the extra mile and not give them the space they need."
This is the sixth time Germany will meet Argentina at the World Cup and the third time in the final -- with both sides tied at 1-1 in terms of the title match.
Germany lost 3-2 in Mexico in 1986 and gained revenge four years later beating Argentina -- who were reduced to nine men -- 1-0.
German captain Philipp Lahm, one of five players in the present squad who faced Argentina in Berlin eight years ago, said history will not be a factor at the Maracana.
"I don't think there aren't so many players still around from 2006, I remember it came to fists, pushing and shoving after the final whistle, but I don't think it will play a role," the 30-year-old said.
"It doesn't matter if it was four or eight years ago, we just want to focus on Rio."