Irritated Loew looks to fix Germany's leadership woes

AFP , Thursday 8 Oct 2020

Joachim Loew
Germany's national team coach Joachim Loew (AFP)

Irritated Germany coach Joachim Loew admits his side has a leadership problem to remedy after three consecutive draws while domestic interest in the national side continues to wane going into back-to-back Nations League matches.

Stuttgart-born Kenan Karaman bundled in a 94th-minute equaliser for Turkey in Cologne to seal a 3-3 draw in Wednesday's friendly as an experimental Germany team surrendered the lead three times.

The Germans are making a habit of leaking equalisers after succumbing to back-to-back 1-1 draws with a near full-strength side last month against Spain and Switzerland in their opening Nations League games.

Next up, Germany head to Kiev to face a Ukraine team ravaged by injury and the coronavirus which crashed 7-1 against world champions France in Paris on Wednesday.

By his own admission, Loew has to fix a "weakness in leadership" in Kiev before the Germans then host Switzerland in Cologne next Tuesday.

In his post-match analysis after the draw with Turkey, Loew was "disappointed and pissed off" by his team's inability to control the game, finish chances and keep hold of possession.

"We have to talk about what we can do better when we are in the lead," said Loew.

"From there, we will then develop a new mentality."

There were a few plus points for Loew, such as Moenchengladbach midfielder Florian Neuhaus who scored on his debut.

Having fielded essentially a B-team against Turkey, Loew will recall his senior stars for the trip to Kiev as Germany looks to end their curious run of draws.

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, who had a leg injury, and Chelsea striker Timo Werner, who was ill, have both been included.

Germany needs to be "calmer, more mature, perhaps even dirtier", said defender Emre Can, one of the more experienced in the team at 26.

The Germans plan to spend just 36-hours in Kiev and keep the squad in a high-security bubble with masks compulsory in the team hotel.

"We can only do what we have already been doing," assured Loew.

"We will keep testing -- all have been negative so far -- and stick strictly to the rules."

Before the Turkey friendly, Loew admitted wanting to refresh "the fans' appetite" to watch the national team play in football-mad Germany.

However, the viewing figures do not make pleasant reading with 5.82 million viewers tuning in - the lowest figure in Loew's 14 years in charge and 184 matches.

For the 11th match in a row, it was less than 10 million viewers, a figure normally expected when Germany play.

"I no longer circle Germany matches in my calendar", admitted 1990 World Cup winning captain Lothar Matthaeus wrote in newspaper Bild.

"This is exactly why nobody switches on the television any more for Germany," he added, referring to the performance.

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