The anticipation begins after Christmas. The national coach spent a bit of time over the holidays, “with things that have nothing to do with football”. For Joachim Löw that is over for now. A tournament is just around the corner and this summer European championship will be full of uncertainties. A tournament too, in which Löw will act under increased observation, one can almost say, under probation.
“I feel great anticipation,” Löw told the sports information service in the pre-Christmas interview. You can believe him, Löw was always best when he had to master challenges. After the World Cup victory in 2014, his competitive tension subsided, the national team had also come down to routine matters for the national coach. The receipt was issued in Russia in 2018.
Since then, the situation has changed, the cards have been reshuffled, and Löw is again allowed to act under pressure. The DFB has its own rules, but a second early tournament exit in a row would leave the arguments for sticking to the eternal national coach. After the World Cup bankruptcy last year, there were strong reasons to question Joachim Löw. Since then, the national coach has had no carte blanche in public, and at least one has the impression that it doesn’t harm him. In any case, he can no longer afford lethargy, and he seems to have grasped it.
Hummels can plan the summer elsewhere
In the end of the year Löw changed the team significantly, the sorting out of the long-standing top performers Jérôme Boateng, Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels stands for it. While giving up Boateng is now also out of the question in terms of sport, there are regular media twitches at Müller and above all at Hummels, which suggest that the national coach should take back actions. Löw never gave in to such whispering, on the contrary, rather reacted allergically and reacted to the stubbornness. It will be like this again. Hummels can plan the summer elsewhere.
As expected, the national team mastered the qualification for the European Championship without too much difficulty. How much the team around the new supports Serge Gnabry, Ilkay Gündogan, Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich or Julian Brandt is, did not answer the qualification. Löw himself says that the European Championship “will not be one of the top favorites” and you do not want to contradict this assessment.
There were strong moments in the 2018 international season, the first half of Amsterdam in the game with the Netherlands, the second half against Northern Ireland at the end of the year, but at the same time there were shaky appearances like in the second half of the lost second leg against Oranje, like in the first half in the Northern Irish and against the well-behaved Belarusians. Constancy was not very noticeable, Löw speaks of the fact that “the automation is still a bit behind”. He justifies this with the many injuries due to injuries this year.
Question mark behind Sané and Süle
In fact, Löw missed important players, especially Leroy Sané, who has been out with a torn cruciate ligament since summer, and defensive chief Niklas Süle with the same injury. With a good healing process, both could be available again in summer. How open they are to the old form is another open question.
Just as fresh as players like Gnabry or Brandt are. The players from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are particularly busy in their various competitions, there will be hardly any opportunity for the club coaches to spare their stars. No one knows yet how much a tournament-inexperienced and still young player like Gnabry is able to cope with the strain and is still at the height of the season. At Leverkusen’s Kai Havertz you can currently see that even the most talented cannot only achieve top performance over a long period of time. Sagging is normal at that age. Havertz currently has it.
On their best days, this team can keep up at the highest level, which is good news, for example, from the game in the Netherlands. At the European Championships with their group opponents world champions France and European champions Portugal, however, the DFB eleven will need their best days several times. It will be Joachim Löw’s task to bring you into this position. He has to master them, it’s also about him.