Below-par Germany lacking killer instinct

Joachim Loew (AFP)
Joachim Loew (AFP)

Berlin - Germany coach Joachim Loew admits the world champions must improve in key areas if they are to back up their Brazil 2014 triumph with the Euro 2016 title next July in France.

"We all know that we have a few things to do," was Loew's appraisal after securing qualification for France with a 2-1 win in a poor performance at home to Georgia in October.

"There are a few areas we need to tighten up in."

Germany have a habit of saving their best for the big stage and have always reached the last four of major tournaments under Loew, who celebrates 10 years as head coach in 2016.

"The main thing for us is not who we'll face, but how ready we are and for that I am optimistic," Loew said in an interview with the German Football Assocation (DFB) ahead of the draw.

"We have proven on numerous occasions that we are able to get the most out of the time before a tournament, which is also what we'll do this time."

There are certainly significant cracks in their armour just now, with their finishing occasionally letting them down and key individuals suffering a loss of form which has led to a drop from first to fourth in the FIFA rankings.

Loew will want to see his side take their chances in March's key home friendlies against England and Italy in the fine-tuning for France.


Germany finished 2015 under a cloud having lost 2-0 to France on November 13, a meaningless result on a night overshadowed by the Paris terror attacks.

Then their friendly against the Netherlands four days later was cancelled after a bomb scare in Hannover.

Despite winning their group, they lost away to both Poland and Ireland in their worst qualifying campaign for a finals since Euro 2008.

Centre-back Mats Hummels and captain Bastian Schweinsteiger are nowhere near the commanding form they produced at the Brazil World Cup.

Schweinsteiger has struggled to adjust to life in the Premier League since joining Manchester United in August while Hummels has been the target of widespread criticism from pundits after a series of below-par performances.

He admitted struggling for fitness on his return from Brazil, but he has often been guilty of poor positioning for Borussia Dortmund this season.

Loew is still looking for a long-term replacement at right-back following Philipp Lahm's retirement and the head coach has never settled on a left-back.

Mario Goetze has struggled with injury and his World Cup final-winning goal is one of the few positives for him after two disappointing seasons at Bayern.

With talent like Thomas Mueller, Marco Reus and Mesut Ozil in the team, creativity is not an issue for Germany, but converting chances into goals is.

"At the moment, we're like a boxer who lands a lot of punches, but doesn't land a knock-out blow early enough," said Loew.

"And in the course of a game that brings a lot of frustration."

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer says Germany need to rediscover their killer instinct in front of goal.

"In training we score 50 goals. One ball after another flies into the net," he remarked.

"We need the killer instinct up front and we're making life hard for ourselves."

On the plus side for Loew, both Neuer and Mueller are in impressive form for Bayern, while centre-back Jerome Boateng has improved.

"We will be prepared for every opponent we are drawn with on Saturday, regardless of who it is," Loew warned.

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