Germany mull problem areas for Socceroos clash
Germany coach Joachim Loew admits he has a few selection problems to solve in the world champions` ranks before hosting Australia in a friendly on Wednesday.
Berlin: Germany coach Joachim Loew admits he has a few selection problems to solve in the world champions` ranks before hosting Australia in a friendly on Wednesday.
Since winning their fourth World Cup title last July, Germany has struggled to recapture their impressive Brazil 2014 form after a shock defeat to Poland, then a draw at home to Ireland in October`s Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Retirements and injuries did little to help the cause as Germany then failed to impress in a 4-0 qualifier win against minnows Gibraltar before closing 2014 with a 1-0 friendly away win over Spain last November in rain-drenched Vigo.
Next up are freshly-crowned Asian champions Australia, who enjoyed a shock 2-1 away win in Germany four years ago, at Kaiserslautern before an away Euro 2016 qualifier against Georgia next Sunday.
Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is set to play his first game in the famous white shirt since the World Cup final after injury while midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and defender Holger Badstuber are back after more than a year out.
The Socceroos will be missing ex-Nuremberg centre-back Matthew Spiranovic, who has a hamstring injury, and the Western Sydney Wanderers defender will be replaced in the squad by Preston North End`s Bailey Wright.
German Football Association (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach has admitted their post-World Cup results have given cause for concern with Germany only joint second in their Euro 2016 qualifying group.
But Loew has promised a fresh start for their opening internationals of 2015 having signed a contract extension until the 2018 World Cup.
He has problems to fix in both defence and attack to get the world champions up to their usual standards with wing-back and striker the key "work in progress" areas.
"The team which won the World Cup doesn`t exist any more, that was a unique constellation where everything fitted perfectly," said Loew.
"There are a few other `building sites` which still need work on."
In particular, Loew has to settle on a right-back and striker after the post-World Cup retirements of Philipp Lahm and Miroslav Klose respectively, while left-back has always been a problem position for the German coach.
Bayern Munich`s Mario Goetze has been used up front as a false nine without great success since the World Cup while Benedikt Hoewedes, Shkodran Mustafi and Antonio Ruediger formed a three-man defence against Spain.
Loew has sent his scouts to Italy and Chile, where the three-man defence is especially prevalent, and the Germans have been experimenting with a back three despite winning the World Cup with a 4-2-3-1 formation.
"But we also need attacking solutions, because we have seen that opponents tend to play defensively," Loew added.
The 55-year-old has been linked to unsubstantiated accusations of doping during the late 1970s and early 1980s at Bundesliga clubs Freiburg and Stuttgart, for whom he both played during that era, but he has denied any involvement.
"Sport must and should stay clean, doping has no place in sport," he has insisted.