Ger­many boss Loew un­der pres­sure for up­com­ing clashes

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - Sport -

Joachim Loew faces the tough­est tests of his 12-year ten­ure as Ger­many head coach in the forth­com­ing Na­tions League matches away to the Nether­lands and world cham­pi­ons France.

Af­ter earn­ing him­self some breath­ing space fol­low­ing a goal­less draw with Di­dier Deschamps’ France in Mu­nich in Septem­ber, Loew must take points from the Dutch on Satur­day in Am­s­ter­dam, and French in Paris on Tues­day next week, to re­store his tar­nished rep­u­ta­tion.

His former cap­tain, Michael Bal­lack, turned on him this week, say­ing he was sur­prised Loew had kept his job in the wake of Ger­many’s World Cup de­ba­cle, when they crashed out af­ter the group stage.

Jur­gen Klins­mann, Ger­many’s head coach with Loew as his as­sis­tant at the 2006 World Cup, also ramped up the pres­sure by say­ing a semi­fi­nal berth at the 2020 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship is now a min­i­mum re­quire­ment.

“It’s ex­pected ‘Jogi’ will re­deem him­self with vic­to­ries and by reach­ing the semi­fi­nals of the next Euro,” Klins­mann told mag­a­zine Sport Bild.

The former striker, 54, said his post-World Cup con­ver­sa­tions with Loew con­vinced him that the 58-year-old still had the hunger to suc­ceed.

Un­usu­ally, Loew, who steered Ger­many to the 2014 World Cup ti­tle, has yet to face the press this week, leav­ing Toni Kroos to de­fend him on Thurs­day from Bal­lack’s crit­i­cism.

“I think he has de­served this chance and I am con­vinced we will sort our­selves out with Jogi Loew,” Kroos said.

“These next two games, against Hol­land and France, are mu­sic to the ears and we hear the sound of six points.”

De­spite sign­ing a con­tract ex­ten­sion with the Ger­man FA in May un­til the 2022 World Cup, de­feats against the Nether­lands and France would leave Loew fac­ing grow­ing calls to re­sign.

The draw with France and a 2-1 friendly win over Peru in Septem­ber­were viewed as no more than suf­fi­cient by the Ger­man pub­lic.

Loew must be bold in his team se­lec­tion – or risk more dam­ag­ing de­feats.

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