Ger­many coach dis­ap­pointed by lack of play­ing time for his first-choice starters

New Straits Times - - Sport -

JOACHIM Loew says Ger­many duo Joshua Kim­mich and An­dre Schuer­rle need more matches — and to spend less time on the bench — for their Bun­desliga clubs ahead of next year’s World Cup de­fence.

Nei­ther Kim­mich nor Schuer­rle are first-choice starters for their clubs with both fac­ing stiff com­pe­ti­tion at Bay­ern Mu­nich and Borus­sia Dort­mund re­spec­tively.

But the pair played the full 90 min­utes of Ger­many’s 4-1 win at Azer­bai­jan in Sun­day’s World Cup qual­i­fier, leav­ing Loew’s men five points clear in Group C, with Kim­mich at right-back and Schuer­rle on the left wing.

While ex-Ger­many cap­tain Philipp Lahm oc­cu­pies Bay­ern’s right-back berth and with Carlo Ancelotti spoiled for choice in mid­field, the Ital­ian cur­rently has no place for Kim­mich in his pre­ferred start­ing line-up.

Like­wise, Thomas Tuchel has Schuer­rle down the peck­ing or­der at Dort­mund with Pierre-Em­er­ick Aubameyang, Chris­tian Pulisic, Marco Reus and Ous­mane Dem­bele also vy­ing for start­ing berths.

Nev­er­the­less Loew fore­sees Kim­mich and Schuer­rle as firmly in his plans for this June’s Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup and the 2018 World Cup in Rus­sia.

Schuer­rle sup­plied the cross which Mario Goetze con­verted for the win­ning goal in the 2014 World Cup fi­nal, while Kim­mich is Loew’s pri­mary op­tion at right­back. But with Rus­sia in mind, the Ger­many coach said the pair must get more game time in the Bun­desliga.

“An­dre made a good im­pres­sion with me last week, phys­i­cally he is very fit and has trained well,” said Loew. “I hope the game in Azer­bai­jan will give him a boost for the com­ing weeks in Dort­mund.

“I would wish that play­ers like him or Joshua Kim­mich get more game time. But I can not tell the club coaches what to do.”

Dort­mund signed Schuer­rle for €30 mil­lion (RM146 mil­lion) from Wolfs­burg last July.

Yet so far this sea­son the 26year-old has com­pleted the full 90 min­utes in just five of 25 league games. He has though flour­ished on the in­ter­na­tional stage and re­paid the faith shown him by Loew.

“I feel re­ally good in the na­tional team and am very happy to get that trust again. It re­ally does me good,” said Schuer­rle.

Dort­mund chief ex­ec­u­tive Hans-Joachim Watzke ad­mit­ted the club’s strength in depth ham­strings Schuer­rle.

“With his qual­i­ties, An­dre would play from the start at any other club in the world,” Watzke told German daily Bild. “Along­side Aubameyang, Pulisic, Reus and Dem­bele, we have five top play­ers for three po­si­tions — that’s why it has not been easy for An­dre.

“That will change again, but ba­si­cally it is eas­ier to get play­ing time with the na­tional team than at Bay­ern or Dort­mund.”

Sim­i­larly, the 22-year-old Kim­mich has played from start to fin­ish in the league just twice since mid-Oc­to­ber.

He rock­eted into Loew’s plans af­ter only mak­ing his Bay­ern de­but in Au­gust 2015, un­der Ancelotti’s pre­de­ces­sor Pep Guardi­ola, but nail­ing down a place in the Bun­desliga giants’ star-stud­ded side has proved chal­leng­ing.

Kim­mich can play in ei­ther de­fence or mid­field, but his flex­i­bil­ity means Ancelotti has in­creas­ingly used him off the bench this sea­son.

“To play two games over the 90 min­utes was ex­tremely im­por­tant for me, be­cause I have got the rhythm you need, sim­ply the feel­ing for the game,” Kim­mich told Die Welt af­ter fea­tur­ing against Eng­land and Azer­bai­jan.

“It’s al­ready some­thing when you are on the pitch from the start, com­pared to when you come on for 10, 15 min­utes. You are more in­volved and, as a young player, it clearly im­proves me.”

Loew said Kim­mich’s fu­ture lies on the right side of Ger­many’s de­fence and, with Lahm to re­tire from all foot­ball in June, he hopes Ancelotti sees things the same way — or he risks los­ing a prized as­set.

“It would be nice if Bay­ern could plan with him in this po­si­tion,” said Loew. “At the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship Kim­mich ex­ploded out of nowhere and still has his whole ca­reer ahead of him, so it goes with­out say­ing that they will want to keep him.” AFP

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