The 56-year-old loves to gamble his way keeping his aces hidden. Meaning: All the headlines and all the results in advance of major tournaments don’t interest him, Loew’s intention is to create a team with strong will and spirit.

wpid-Germanywin1.jpgDefeats like the 3-2 against England, after a 2-0 lead, last Saturday don’t give him doubts, results like the 4-1 (2-0) against Italy, Germany’s first victory against the southern Europeans for over 21 years, don’t make him celebrate. It was more of a result to calm down public pessimism after the general spread disappointment after the England game. A 4-1 win over Italy (Stephan El Shaarawy scored for the away side) in a pre-tournament friendly is not something that Loew will overestimate.

Like in the game against England, Loew tried out players and tactical variations in Munich on Tuesday. Last Friday in Berlin, striker Mario Gomez (Besiktas Istanbul) returned to the team after a long break. Against Italy, Mario Goetze (Bayern Munich), one of Germany’s goalscorers along with Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Jonas Hector (1. FC Cologne) and Mesut Oezil (Arsenal), was the German spearhead but in contrast to Gomez, kept changing positions with Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich) and Julian Draxler (VfL Wolfsburg).

In addition, Loew tried out a three man defense when they had the ball and it was changed in a five-man back line when defending. In front of the three or five defense were Mesut Oezil and Kroos, who was the best German player this evening. Normally offensively-minded players, they acted as a “double six” in defensive midfield. Against a weak Italy this evening it worked well but is far from being something that is seen as a key for success.

“We did a clever game, we were in good shape in defense and I was happy with Oezil and Kroos in that position. But we all know it was a test match, nothing more,” Loew said.

And Dortmund defender Mats Hummels said: “We showed what is possible when the team regards defensive tasks as well and that over 90 minutes. This game gives us a positive feeling.”

Loew loves gambling in advance of tournaments, meaning he tries to leave all options open for himself. He does not love gambling when it comes to players he is convinced he can rely on. A national team is not like a club team where players lose their coaches trust after one, two or three bad games. Loew is far from that as he supports players going through difficult times.

Lukas Podolski (Galatasaray Istanbul) is an example as well as Bastian Schweinsteiger (Manchester United), Mario Goetze, Mesut Oezil, Julian Draxler, Andre Schuerrle (VfL Wolfsburg) and Mario Gomez. If one is regarded as one of his key figures by him, Loew will wait until the last possible moment for them to get back into shape after injury.

Only six newcomers have been chosen by Loew since his team won the 2014 World Cup. Karim Bellarabi (Bayer Leverkusen), Jonas Hector, Patrick Herrmann (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Emre Can (Liverpool), Leroy Sane (FC Schalke) and Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen) were the “lucky ones”, but other then Hector, none made it constantly into Loew’s inner circle.

His job at the moment, Loew is convinced, is to stay calm and create a positive atmosphere in which team spirit can grow. “I know our team well and know they will be highly motivated and focused when it comes to the big games. I have no worries that we won’t be ready when the games at EURO 2016 starts,” said Loew, meaning youngsters like Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Julian Weigl Borussia Dortmund), Max Meyer (FC Schalke 04) and Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), all 19 to 20 years old, will most likely have to wait for the time after 2016 in France, when the focus turns to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

In Brazil, Loew’s biggest problem was the defense. Germany was not seen as having difficulties in midfield and up front. Now many things indicate it might be the same again 2016. Fix the back line and give your forwards the run of the park and everything will be OK.

In 2014 Loew managed to solve his problem with the unexpected solution of four central defenders. In 2016 Loew will work on the problem behind closed doors when his squad gathers for in the German training camps ahead of the tournament in France.

“Now nothing really counts, no headline, no result,” says Loew. His message to his players is clear: Don’t panic, rely on your self-confidence. If you can’t right now, we will work on it when we have undisturbed quality time in the training camps. Tournaments as Loew says are not won before kick-off. You win it, when the final whistle goes. For Germany, the tournament in France from June 10 to July 10 starts with their “opening game” against Ukraine on June 12.

For the time being, Loew will use the easy win over Italy to proceed with his present policy. Euro 2016 is very open and none of the favorites such as England, Italy, Spain or France are certain to win it. Loew might as well tell his team after the friendly in Munich: The hard work starts now.

Source: Xinhua


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