Germany boss Loew under pressure for upcoming clashes
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.