Germany to seduce home fans with ‘sexy football,’ seal Euro 2020 spot - GulfToday

Germany to seduce home fans with ‘sexy football,’ seal Euro 2020 spot


Germany’s head coach Joachim Loew attends a press conference ahead of his team’s Euro 2020 qualification match against Belarus in Dusseldorf on Saturday. Agence France-Presse

With two qualifiers yet to come, Germany have clear objectives in mind, says defender Joshua Kimmich. While brushing aside the challenge of Belarus on Saturday en route to securing a Euro 2020 finals berth, boosting dwindling attendances is also a major concern.

To achieve their objectives, Kimmich adds, they plan to seduce home fans with “sexy football” . Fan interest has never been so low since Joachim Loew took charge of Germany in 2006, with average attendances for home internationals dropping to a paltry 37,162 and only two thirds of the tickets for both remaining home qualifiers sold so far.

An emphatic win over Belarus in Moenchengladbach could help win back any fans still disgruntled by their woeful 2018 World Cup campaign when Germany came last in their group.

“First and foremost, we are responsible for getting people into the stadium whether we play sexy football or not,” said midfielder Kimmich in Duesseldorf.

“We have to make sure that everyone who stays at home regrets it a bit.”

With two qualifiers left, European powerhouses the Netherlands, who face Northern Ireland in Belfast on Saturday, and Germany are level at the top of Group C on 15 points with the top two teams progressing. So far, the Dutch and Germans have only lost to each other, with Germany’s 3-2 win in Amsterdam last March avenged when the Oranje enjoyed a 4-2 victory in Hamburg in September.

The Germans will claim their Euro finals berth on Saturday with a win provided the Dutch don’t lose in Belfast, and Loew’s squad will be eager to avoid having to win their final qualifier against Northern Ireland in Frankfurt on Tuesday.

Striker Timo Werner is currently Germany’s best source of goals with the RB Leipzig striker having netted 11 goals in as many Bundesliga games this season. Werner netted his 11th goal in 28 appearances for Germany last month when they beat Estonia 3-0 with 10-men in Tallinn after defender Emre Can was sent off with just 14 minutes gone.

After grinding out a 2-0 win in Belarus in June, Werner warned “you can’t expect us to win 5-0 or 6-0”.

With Can suspended and Niklas Suele injured, Loew will need to reshuffle his defence, but there is a fight for midfield places behind Werner.

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who scored twice against Estonia, is vying with Bayern Munich’s Kimmich and Real Madrid star Toni Kroos for a central midfield slot.

Meanwhile, coach Joachim Loew said on Friday ahead of their final two qualifiers that Germany will not be among the tournament favourites if they qualify for next year’s Euro 2020.

“We don’t belong to the tournament favourites,” Loew told reporters.

“France, England have been playing with the same players for years. There are the Dutch, Spain.

“Us, with our young team, we are not among the favourites because we are still in the process of change.”

The Germans suffered a shock group-stage exit at last year’s World Cup and were relegated in the inaugural Nations League, promoting a major overhaul of the team.

“Maybe in two or four years when the players are at their peak. I mean a lot is possible with this team and we are working on that because it does have a lot of quality.”

Loew has had to struggle with a lot of absences in recent months and his young team has rarely played with the same starting lineup, delaying, as he said, its development.

“We have had games where we played really well over 45 minutes and when I was surprised at how well some things worked,” he said.

“But we have not yet managed to do it over 90 minutes against tough opponents. That is the job we have.”