While Germany celebrates its young Confed Cup heroes, its 2014 world champions find themselves under attack.
The country’s young B-team beat South America champions Chile 1-0 in the final, while discussions started back home as to who will be the big losers of the surprise triumph.
Pundits of nearly all the TV channels, newspapers and magazines agreed that several big names from the 2014 World Cup-winning squad are unlikely to make the cut for the 2018 tournament as the newcomers supplied convincing arguments in their favor.
Joachim Loew is refusing to be drawn on the subject. In a few months though, the head coach might have to make some tough decision.
On the list of possible omissions are well-known names like Mesut Oezil (Arsenal), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Mario Gomez (VfL Wolfsburg) and Benedikt Hoewedes (FC Schalke 04). The trio of Oezil-Khedira-Mueller has won 239 caps for Germany.
Most of the 2014 squad members were given a break by Loew this summer to recover. Now their situation has changed as many will have to fight for their places. The German youngsters beat teams like Portugal, Mexico and Chile, who all played at full strength.
A look at the 2017 Confed Cup top scorer list must make established German strikers nervous. The top three: Young Germans like Leipzig’s Timo Werner, Lars Stindl (Borussia Moenchengladbach) and Leon Goretzka (FC Schalke 04) who all not only scored three goals but satisfied Loew’s demand for efficiency and speed up front.
As Loew is considering abandoning wingers in a new 3-4-2-1 system requiring fast forwards that constantly swop positions, traditional spearheads such as Gomez or Sandro Wagner (TSG Hoffenheim) will most likely not be picked along with winger Andre Schuerrle (Borussia Dortmund) are.
German Confed Cup captain Julian Draxler (Paris St. Germain) and Bayern Munich defender Joshua Kimmich turned out to be ready to take responsibility on the international stage.
Draxler was awarded the prize for the tournament’s best player while Werner won the top scorer trophy. Both will most likely be selected for the 2018 squad pundits say.
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New Bayern Munich defender Niklas Suele finds him on a top position as well.
Loew said he hoped that more than two or three of his 2017 Confed Cup youngsters would be a part of the 2018 squad.
He praised Draxler’s development and predicts Kimmich will have a brilliant career in football winning many caps for Germany.
In general, he is impressed by the performance of the youngsters in the two recent tournaments Loew continued.
In addition to the Confed Cup, Germany won the U-21 European Championship last weekend beating Spain in the final 1-0.
Max Meyer (Schalke), Serge Gnabry (Bayern Munich) and Yannik Gerhardt (Wolfsburg) are expected to be in a position to compete for a ticket to Russian in 2018.
The 57-year-old Loew will be able to choose from a pool of up to 50 players for his 2018 squad.
Former national coach Juergen Klinsmann praised the huge number of German talents that are available.
No other country in the world can count on a similar number of players between the ages of 21 and 27.
Only two of the 44 players at the 2017 Confed Cup and the U-21 European Championship were older than 27 Klinsmann emphasized, while 40 will be younger than 26 years.
Klinsmann called the result of the German education of football youngsters something to pay attention to.
The club’s work in their youth academies according to Klinsmann is excellent and the reason for the latest success. Loew’s coaching does the rest.
He stands for the guts to have confidence in youngsters and give them playing minutes, the 1990 World Cup winner told the Nuremberg based football magazine kicker.
The national team managing director Oliver Bierhoff praised the additional option Germany’s first team has regarding the 2018 World Cup.
Many that thought they already have done enough for their participation in the 2018 World Cup squad are now aware they will have to a lot to be among the chosen few said the 1996 European Champion.
An important figure such as Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) is still seeded and can count on a certain place in the German squad but after the Confed Cup surprise, the number of players that are untouchable has decreased significantly Bierhoff said.
Loew said he is happy about the new competition generated by the youngsters. The German coach emphasized that the 2014 World Cup-winning players can count on a considerable advantage but he will keep a close eye on his bunch of candidates and their performances in the next month both at their clubs and in the national team before he comes to the hard decisions when naming the 23 for the 2018 World Cup.