Loew struggles to fend off criticism before Swiss test

Tuesday, October 13th, 2020 00:00 |
Head coach Joachim Loew.

Cologne, Monday

Germany host Switzerland on Tuesday amid sharp criticsm of the national team’s head coach Joachim Loew, who is still struggling to shake off the aftermath of their 2018 World Cup debacle.

By their own high standards, Germany have made a low-key start in the Nations League with two draws, against Spain and Switzerland, and a narrow win over Ukraine before facing the Swiss in Cologne.

A full-strength side scrapped a 2-1 win against Ukraine in Kiev on Saturday following three straight draws when the Germans leaked second-half goals on all three occasions.

On Tuesday, Toni Kroos is set to make his 100th appearance for Germany, but Julian Draxler, Marcel Halstenberg and Lukas Klostermann are all carrying knocks and are doubtful starters.

Injuries aside, Loew feels little need to “change much” in the starting line-up despite worrying signs in Kiev.

Only a fortunate Leon Goretzka header -- after a rare mistake by Ukraine goalkeeper Heorhiy Bushchan -- made the difference as the Germans often gave possession away cheaply.

“I see the big picture on the way to the European Championships,” Loew insisted with the Euro 2020 finals eight months away.

“We have a clear plan. We know what we are doing.”

Loew has a contract until 2022, but his popularity -- which peaked when Germany won the 2014 World Cup -- crashed after the 2018 finals in Russia, where the Germans failed to get out of their group.

Despite Loew’s promises to rebuild the side, Germany are still susceptible to lapses of concentration, as proven when they conceded three equalisers against Turkey. 

German fans seem to agree with Loew’s critics amid disappointing recent television viewer figures for international matches in football-mad Germany. - AFP

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