In the past, Müller-Wohlfahrt’s forecasts were absolutely reliable: Philipp Lahm, who was injured beforehand, managed to win the 2014 World Cup “It’s going to be difficult, sure. Nobody deserves that they have to go home,” said Löw about the possibly larger hardship decisions. The 1:3 in the hailed test run against Slovakia, which is unsuitable for higher tournament demands, in which practically only water polo could be played in Augsburg after a storm in the second half of the game, will not be the decisive factor in the selection 4 out of 27.
Behind closed doors, Löw withdrew to advice on Monday in Ascona with his closest staff. And for the experienced squad planner Löw, the starting point for all strategies and personnel constellations will be his celebrity players with an injury handicap. How much sense does it make to take the ailing world champions Mats Hummels and Bastian Schweinsteiger to France? How quickly will the ailing Marco Reus and Karim Bellarabi fit? “We now have to take stock of how some players are doing,” Löw commented on the process.
Doc Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, whose diagnosis Löw has always trusted in ten years as national coach, becomes a key figure. “If our doctor responsible, Müller-Wohlfahrt, tells me that the player will not be resilient for the next few weeks, it is clear that I will adjust myself a bit,” said Löw: “I would like a certain okay from the doctor that that does not pose any risks in the coming weeks.”
In the past, Müller-Wohlfahrt’s forecasts were absolutely reliable: Philipp Lahm (foot) and Manuel Neuer (shoulder), who were injured in the run-up to the World Cup in 2014, managed to recover on point. Bayern colleague Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira also got fit after injuries during the tournament and ultimately guaranteed success in Brazil.
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Now Löw does not even give his captain a license. However, he reported on further small improvements made by the midfielder, who was permanently injured in the year of the European Championship. “Bastian was also on the pitch and worked with the ball.” Löw doubts and ponders. Hummels, originally envisaged as a permanent fixture in the center of defense alongside Jérôme Boateng, has torn a muscle fiber in his calf and is unable to predict when he will be able to start the tournament. “Maybe it won’t be enough for the second game either,” speculated the newcomer from Munich.
Loew is in a bind. Whereby the roster in the 18th, 19th and 20th field player places is hardly decisive for the tournament and offers scope for risky appointments with executives such as Hummels or Schweinsteiger. The tournament debutants Kevin Großkreutz, Erik Durm and Matthias Ginter also became world champions in Brazil in 2014 without having played a minute of the game.
There is plenty of potential for Löw in the provisional 27-man squad. Tournament veteran Lukas Podolski, who after winning the cup with Galatasaray Istanbul on Sunday evening with the DFB plane from Augsburg to Lago Maggiore and taking up training, does not belong to the group of wobbly candidates. The only thing missing is Champions League winner Toni Kroos, who can still recover for a few days.
The young players in particular were not able to use the last casting against Slovakia, who took part in the European Championship, as they wished. This was partly due to the adverse conditions after the storm, but also to the performances shown. The trio of Joshua Kimmich, Julian Weigl and Julian Brandt rewarded Löw with their international debut, as did goalkeeper Bernd Leno. The youngsters, including Schalke’s selection favorite Leroy Sané, would have sat in the dressing room with “beaten faces”, reported penalty goal scorer Mario Gomez: “You imagined it differently. That’s the tough school of football.”
Löw was lenient. He spoke of a “certain pressure situation” for the boys. “It’s logical that one or the other mistake happens. But I don’t want to exaggerate that.” He even defended substitute Marc-André ter Stegen, who made another slapstick mistake in the national jersey on the third goal conceded. “The pitch was wet, the ball slippery. That will not affect our trust in him now, ”said Loew. Ter Stegen and Leno don’t have to worry; From the outset, Löw had only nominated two other goalkeepers in addition to number 1 Manuel Neuer.
The most important finding from Augsburg was anyway: Without the established forces like Neuer, Müller and Özil, nothing can be gained in France. Good offensive approaches were also overshadowed by severe defensive weaknesses, which were punished by Marek Hamsik, Michal Duris and Juray Kucka with goals conceded.
The preliminary skirmish ends with the squad reduction. “The preparation for the tournament can now begin,” announced goalscorer Gomez a new start. World champion Khedira, who with his 45-minute game after a calf injury Löw was able to relieve Löw’s greatest worries in defensive midfield, made a clear statement with regard to the emergency on June 12 in Lille against Ukraine: “Few teams can do that for us football-wise water. But we have to develop this hunger to win every game. We’re working on that.”