It might sound strange when it comes to a World Champion who normally is regarded to be the trendsetter of his kind. But Germany`s national football team will change its game style to be prepared for future challenges in modern football.
Right before Germany`s next qualification game on the road to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, this Saturday evening in Hamburg against the Czech Republic, German head coach Joachim Loew call for a change in game style.
“We need to be much more effective when it comes to goal scoring,” Loew said.
Weeks after the European Championship in France, when Germany was eliminated by tournament host France in the semifinal, 56 years old Loew presented a survey proofing that the German team needs 12 to 13 shots on the goal to score a goal. Far too much for the taste of German coach Loew and double as much as a year before. Loew and Hans-Dieter Flick, technical director of the German association “Deutscher Fubball-Bund” (DFB), on top called for change in German football education.
German national team manager Oliver Bierhoff delivered the reason for the change of mind German fans could already see in the game against Norway (3-0).
“I think we have been too much focused on systems and have fallen in love too easy with system football. One of the conclusions we came to is: To have an over average amount of ball possession does not get you over the line,” Bierhoff said.
Loew’s command for his midfield artists was clear and simple: Go for a more vertical and direct game. A directive to his working-class which does not seem that easy to fulfill for midfield artists like Mesut Oezil (FC Arsenal) or Toni Kroos (Real Madrid).
“We have several players that rather play this extra dream-pass instead to cross the line without any de-tour,” German striker Thomas Mueller said. Loew now calls for more effectiveness, preciseness and tactical pragmatism.
Looking at the game against Czech Republic this weekend Loew has to rely on the understanding of his midfielders or forwards normally doing duty along the flank such as Thomas Mueller, Mario Goetze (Borussia Dortmund), Julian Draxler (VfL Wolfsburg) or midfielders like Ilkay Guendogan (Manchester City) next to Kroos and Oezil. Right before the first meeting of the national team Germany’s only center striker Mario Gomez (VfL Wolfsburg) was sidelined due to a muscle injury.
Because Germany in Loew`s opinion does not have “such a type of player” other than Gomez, the German head coach did not call for any substitution. Younger talents like Timo Werner or Davie Selke (both RB Leipzig) in his regard need more time to adapt to the required top level. “To score goals in a more direct way is a matter of concentration and mentality,” Loew said.
Loew`s survey was the last indication that it might be time for a chance after the European Championships in France reveled the German goal problem crystal clear. Germany only scored seven goals in six games in France. For weeks now Loew thought about solutions that will lead to a more effective game. His conclusion: He not only faces a lack of strikers but needs a general new attitude in his squad. For years Loew followed the plan to adjust the German game with Spanish elements of ball-possession football.
The weakness in efficiency in the German game as well as change of game-style and the lack of high quality strikers is according to Loew a problem “we will have to deal with the next two years”.
The German head coach expressed his demands for the future: “We have to develop more players that can survive one-to-one duels. We are a highly qualified team for combination football, but we need more players that can get through in direct duels,” Loew said.
Loew`s survey revealed that “we have better figures in most parts of the game” (Loew) such as passing, received goals and man-to-man duels.
“I still like the perfect game, meaning well-structured football with class, but goal scoring and pragmatism must be part of it” , Loew pointed out.
“We have energy to develop as we have learned to dominate a game. But there is always a lot to do,” Loew said.
He would feel great energy to go through a change and gain further development.
“It inspires me a lot to see the needed developments, to have a look of a new trends and new styles all over the world. To do that has helped me as a coach and as a leading person a great deal,” Loew said.
To win the 2014 World Cup “is the greatest motivation boost I have ever felt. Some people said it would be an ideal opportunity after winning the World Cup to resign as German coach. But I just felt the opposite. It is one thing to get to the top, but it is a much greater challenge to stay at the top. To win in Brazil has revealed the feeling inside me to win more titles and to confirm what we have achieved. The plan, you have to develop every two years in order to stay at the top, keeps me going,” Loew said.