Germany coach wary of Cameroon threat

AFP , Sunday 25 Jun 2017

Joachim Loew
Germany head coach Joachim Loew arrives for a press conference during the Russia 2017 Confederation Cup in Sochi on June 24, 2017 (AFP)

Joachim Loew remains wary of the threat posed by Cameroon as the Germany coach bids to maintain his decade-long record of reaching the semi-finals at major tournaments in the Confederations Cup on Sunday.

The world champions take on Cameroon's Indomitable Lions at Sochi's Fisht Stadium while Chile play Australia in Moscow in the final round of Group B games.

Germany need a point to progress while the African champions must win by two clear goals to stay in the tournament.

"The game against Cameroon is no formality. They have nothing to lose," warned Loew.

Since Loew took charge as head coach after Germany finished third at the 2006 World Cup on home soil, the team has always reached the semi-finals at either European championships or World Cup finals.

Germany are second to Chile in the table by a single goal with both teams on four points while Cameroon and Australia have a point each.

Loew revealed in Saturday's press conference there is a question mark over Liverpool midfielder Emre Can, who rolled an ankle in training, although centre-back Antonio Ruediger will start.

"I won't use the same team we had against Chile, those who play will have earned their chances," he explained.

"It won't be seven or eight changes, that would do the players no good.

"However, players like Jonas Hector or Julian Draxler could do with a break, so I can imagine making five or six changes."

A year before the World Cup, Loew took the gamble of leaving all of his World Cup-winning stars at home to blood fringe players.

The move has paid off with forward Lars Stindl scoring in both Monday's 3-2 win over Australia and Thursday's 1-1 draw with Chile leaving him as the Confed Cup's top-scorer.

Loew's young side has so far been convincing in Russia.

They dominated Australia for the first hour in Sochi, then weathered a Socceroos fight back, while in Kazan against Chile they showed guts in fighting back after conceding an early goal.

Loew opted to make no changes against Chile -- the first time a German coach has done that in an international since 1995 -- saying he wanted his team to "tough it out".

With first-choice shot-stopper Manuel Neuer recovering from foot surgery, Loew says he may well rotate his goalkeeper with Paris Saint-Germain's Kevin Trapp expected to start.

Germany have won two of their three previous meetings with Cameroon and there was a 2-2 draw when the teams last met in a pre-World Cup friendly in 2014.

Cameroon coach Hugo Broos fielded the same starting line-up for both their opening 2-0 defeat to Chile and Thursday's disappointing 1-1 draw with Australia.

The Belgian is expected to call up the same again against the world champions.

- Socceroos' big test -

Australia face Chile at Moscow's Spartak Stadium with a draw good enough for the Copa America champions while the Socceroos need a win by three clear goals to reach the last four.

It would be the biggest result in the three-year tenure of Australia's coach Ange Postecoglou, regardless of the result.

"Our game against Chile is another massive one for us," said Australia captain Mark Milligan.

"We will not just be hoping, we will prepare to try to win.

"Chile are a very good side, but they have weaknesses too."

Australia's all-time top-scorer Tim Cahill could win his 100th cap.

"He is a great Australian, transcending sport, to play at three World Cups. He has earned every cap. If he plays tomorrow, he has earned it," said Postecoglou.

Chile's captain, Inter Milan defender Gary Medel, is fit despite limping out of the draw against Germany with cramp.

Chile's coach Juan Antonio Pizzi has hinted goalkeeper Claudio Bravo could play for the first time since picking up a calf injury playing for Manchester City in April.

Having become Chile's all-time top-scorer by scoring early against Germany, Arsenal's striker Alexis Sanchez will be looking to add to his tally of 38 international goals.

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