Li­ons set out to stop Loew’s 100th win

CityPress - - Sport - PETER AUF DER HEYDE sports@city­press.co.za

Joachim Loew is al­ready the most suc­cess­ful na­tional team coach in German his­tory, and he could yet add an­other mile­stone to his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer to­day.

And that is some­thing the In­domitable Li­ons want to pre­vent.

Vic­tory for Germany against Cameroon in their Group B clash at the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup to­day in Sochi will give Loew his 100th vic­tory as coach of the 2014 World Cup win­ners.

Loew down­played the im­por­tance of the po­ten­tial mile­stone: “I know there will be 100 vic­to­ries, whether now or in the fu­ture does not make so much dif­fer­ence, and I would much rather be wait­ing for a hun­dredth win than a hun­dredth de­feat!”

A win for Germany will elim­i­nate the African cham­pi­ons from the com­pe­ti­tion – as will a draw.

Go­ing into Sun­day’s match, Chile and Germany lead the group on four points, while Cameroon and Aus­tralia have one point ahead of their fi­nal game.

Un­like most other in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tions, the head-to-head re­sults only kick in if teams are equal on points, goal dif­fer­ence and goals scored.

Cameroon need to beat Germany with a two-goal mar­gin to ad­vance – un­less Aus­tralia se­cure an un­likely big-mar­gin vic­tory against Chile.

Although a win against Germany is a tall or­der for any coun­try, Cameroon coach Hugo Broos will take some com­fort from the fact that his side out­played the Soc­ceroos for much of their 1-1 draw on Thursday, and should re­ally have won the game.

Porto’s Vin­cent Aboubakar missed a num­ber of scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for Cameroon, who qual­i­fied for the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup af­ter win­ning the Africa Cup of Na­tions in Gabon ear­lier this year.

Broos said they were strug­gling to score goals, but added that he did see progress.

“A year ago, we didn’t even have a team. To­day, you have a team that won the Africa Cup of Na­tions – and that’s progress.

“You should not think that win­ning the Africa Cup of Na­tions means that you can win the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup, and next year the World Cup. That’s not how it works. Let this team grow; let it get some ex­pe­ri­ence. If I can find some­one who scores goals with his eyes closed to­mor­row, he’ll be in my team.”

On the B side

That is a prob­lem that Loew does not have, even though he ar­rived in Rus­sia with lit­tle more than a B side. The side in­cluded six un­capped players and only two players with more than 20 caps.

Germany be­gan with a 3-2 vic­tory against Aus­tralia, be­fore draw­ing 1-1 with Chile. Thursday’s game against the South Amer­i­cans was the first time since tak­ing over Germany that Loew did not make any sub­sti­tu­tions.

“I felt the players were in con­trol of the sit­u­a­tion and did not lack stamina in the sec­ond half,” said the coach, who was in charge of Fener­bahçe when the late John “Shoes” Moshoeu cap­tained the Turk­ish club.

Loew dis­missed spec­u­la­tion that Germany could play for a draw, though that would be enough to see them go through to the next round.

“We want to win this group. We play for a vic­tory in each match and that will be our goal against Cameroon. If we man­age to win the group, we will not have to travel.

“Be­fore com­mit­ting to a team, I will have to see in which con­di­tion the in­di­vid­ual players are, but it is quite likely that we will make one or two changes. Some players will ben­e­fit if they have a bit of a break af­ter two games within a few days, and pos­si­bly our game will also ben­e­fit by in­tro­duc­ing some new blood.”

Liver­pool’s Emre Can and rookie Lars Stindl were the out­stand­ing players for Germany against a strong Chile side, with Stindl grab­bing his sec­ond goal of the tour­na­ment.

Loew can also count on Ju­lian Draxler, who has found his form again af­ter a big-money trans­fer to Paris Saint-Ger­main from Wolfs­burg in the win­ter trans­fer win­dow, and is cap­tain­ing the side at the Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup.

“I am very sat­is­fied with Ju­lian, also off the pitch. He can han­dle the re­spon­si­bil­ity.”

Draxler is the youngest Germany cap­tain and is now the sec­ond-youngest to coach Germany at the fi­nal of a com­pe­ti­tion. Only Max Bre­unig was younger – by 42 days – when he led Germany at the 1912 Olympics.

“I know what is to be done. But I am also not one who will now speak for 15 min­utes in the change rooms. I try to show my worth on the field,” the mid­fielder said.

PHOTO: IVAN SEKRETAREV / AP PHOTO

CLASH Cameroon’s Vin­cent Aboubakar, who missed a num­ber of chances against Aus­tralia, is tack­led by Trent Sains­bury. He will play in to­day’s Con­fed­er­a­tions Cup Group B match against Germany

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