India Champions Trophy 2014 Sardar Singh Captains
All eight captains pose with the Champions Trophy 2014 silverwareIANS

India have had some terrific results of late in hockey, winning the gold medal at the Asian Games, and then stunning Australia in their own backyard.

However, with their inspirational coach Terry Walsh now no longer at the helm, doubts will naturally creep through, and it will be up to the players, particularly the senior ones, to ensure India maintain their momentum as they begin their Champions Trophy 2014 campaign at home with a match against Germany in Bhubaneswar.

Roelant Oltmans, India's high performance director, will be the man acting as the coach for India in the absence of Walsh, and it remains to be seen if the players respond to the Dutchman as well as they did to the Australian, who returned to his country following a dispute with Hockey India.

"The mood in the team is upbeat," Oltmans said on Friday. "I think this is what we have been practicing for the last couple of weeks. The last days are always difficult because you want the tournament to start.

"I think we are well prepared but still you never know because I am sure all eight teams are very well prepared. I am pleased with our boys training. The team is ready for the tournament."

India, following their impressive performances, will head into the tournament as one of the favourites, and the start, specifically their first match against Germany, will be vital if they are to go all the way and give the home crowd plenty to smile about.

Germany, even if they have brought a young team to the Champions Trophy this year, are always a threat in any tournament, and Oltmans knows you underestimate them at your own peril.

"Germany are the Olympic champions and European champions," added Oltmans. "They are very strong team and there is no doubt about it.

"Of course, they came here with some youngsters but at the same time they have very experienced and high quality players. So, we can't underestimate Germany."

The major worry for India heading into the Germany match is an injury to skipper Sardar Singh, who was seen icing his left calf in training on Friday.

"I had a niggle on my left calf muscle, but it's fine right now," said Sardar, so crucial to India's success. "I had to stretch more than the other guys and I'm applying ice to it so that the injury doesn't aggravate."

"He is sure of playing the game against Germany, but I want to wait and see how he reacts to the practice sessions," added Oltmans on his captain. "As of now, there's a 90 percent chance of him playing."

India vs Germany will be the last match of a full four-game schedule, with Australia and England kicking the Champions Trophy 2014 off at noon with their Pool A match. That game will be followed by another Pool A clash between Belgium and Pakistan, with Netherlands and Argentina then going head to head in Pool B.

India and Germany will then round things off on Saturday with the final Pool B encounter.

Schedule: Pool A: 12 pm IST (6.30 am GMT): Australia vs England

Pool A: 2 pm IST (8.30 am GMT): Belgium vs Pakistan

Pool B: 5.30 pm IST (12 pm GMT): Netherlands vs Argentina

Pool B: 7.30 pm IST (2 pm GMT): India vs Germany

Where to Watch Live:

Day 1 action of the Champions Trophy 2014, including India vs Germany, will be shown live in India on Ten Sports. Viewers can also catch the match/matches via live streaming online on Ten Sports Live.

Audience across the world can live stream all the action on the Youtube channel of FIH.

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