Howedes calls for team effort to stop Messi

Germany defender Benedikt Howedes said only a team effort can stop Argentina star Lionel Messi in Sunday's FIFA World Cup final.

Messi is without a goal in the knockout stages after starring in Group F with four, but he remains a key in Alejandro Sabella's team.

Howedes, likely to start at left-back at the Estadio do Maracana, said relying on an individual to stop Messi was unrealistic.

"I'll do my part, but it will be a collective effort," he told reporters on Thursday.

"That's how even a player of such quality can be stopped."

Usually a centre-back, Howedes has done a good job on the left for Joachim Low's men.

He said just being a part of the back four has helped boost Germany, who go into Sunday's final as favourites after their 7-1 hammering of Brazil.

"Since we are in the final, I must have done something right," Howedes said.

"I am playing in a position for which I haven't trained, but I think I am helping the team with my presence."

Schalke defender Howedes said it was hard to believe what Germany had achieved.

"For me, it's completely crazy what's going on. I still can't believe it," he said.

"It's huge what’s happening to me and the final will be the highlight. We want the title."