By Rob Kelly

Germany must be at their best from the very first whistle if they are to make it through Euro 2012’s ‘Group of Death’, according to Per Mertesacker.

Joachim Low’s side have been drawn in Group B against Robin van Persie’s Holland, Portugal and a Denmark side containing Nicklas Bendtner.

Mertesacker accepts it will be a major challenge to progress through to the knockout stages, and says there is no margin for error.

“We have to be ready from the first moment, that is the main thing in this tournament,” he told Arsenal Player.

“We will try to be sharp from the very first game against Portugal. You cannot lose, if you do you are nearly out therefore the first matches are very important.”

Mertesacker is eagerly anticipating Germany’s clash against Holland on June 13, but admits it will be a novel experience to see Van Persie as an opponent rather than a team-mate.

“We are looking forward to seeing each other at the tournament,” he said. “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.”

Watch the full interview with Per on Arsenal Player.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 6 Jun 2012