Germany's coach Joachim Low believes that the time has come for Germany to overcome their struggles of the past and defeat Italy in a major tournament.
Die Mannschaft have failed to come out on top against the Azzurri in four previous World Cups and two European Championship meetings. They will go head-to-head once more in the Euro 2012 semi-final on Thursday, and the 52-year-old trainer believes that they will finally break the curse.
"It is true that we have always found it difficult against the Italians, but this time will be different. The time is now ripe to win against Italy," said Low.
"I've been thinking of February 2011, when we played a 1-1 draw with the Italians. What we have experienced and seen here is the new Italy. This does not have much in common with the Italy of before. The Italians have changed to a completely different style under Cesare Prandelli.
"They are now playing much more aggressively than you would expect from an Italian team. Prandelli once said that they must be oriented towards the German team, playing offensively and with a change in the age structure, to use more young players.
"And he has succeeded in this, so there is no definite favourite for the semi-final. Italy are a very stable team with a continually good defence and now a strong attack," said the coach.
Low remained coy over whether he will make any changes to his side, but suggested that there could be a surprise in store.
"There is a match plan of course. We will play our game and not change dramatically. Against Italy it will be crucial that we take our own game and execute our philosophy. The question is: which players are suited to this? I wonder now: what weaknesses do Italy have? And who among us can take advantage? Let yourself be surprised," added the coach.
Germany take on Italy in Warsaw on Thursday evening, with the victor earning a spot in Sunday's final against Spain or Portugal.