RVP contest excites Mertesacker

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Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker is looking forward to battling his Gunners teammate Robin van Persie during their Euro 2012 Group B encounter.

The Germany centre-half is excited about facing Dutch striker van Persie, and is hopeful that his young German side can negotiate the tricky 'Group of Death'. The highly-fancied German team face fellow tournament favourites Holland, Portugal and Denmark in Group B.

But Mertesacker is most looking forward to pitting his wits against the Premier League's top scorer. Germany face Holland in their second Euro 2012 match on June 13, and the Arsenal centre-half is eyeing an all-important win.

Speaking to Arsenal Player, Mertesacker said: "We are looking forward to seeing each other at the tournament. He is our skipper [at Arsenal] and I always try to support him, but then everything changes. It is very, very strange to be opponents but as a footballer you have to cope with these situations and I look forward to seeing him."

Van Persie and Mertesacker will also get a first look at new Arsenal signing Lukas Podolski. Mertesacker's German teammate has joined the Gunners from Cologne and is likely to start for his country on the left-hand side of a German attacking trio.

Group B has Arsenal representatives throughout, including Nicklas Bendtner at Denmark, and Mertesacker is hopeful that his side can progress through the tough group into the knock-out rounds.

"We have to be ready from the first moment, that is the main thing in this tournament," said the centre-back. "You cannot lose, if you do you are nearly out therefore the first matches are very important."

Per Mertesacker
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