Germany beefed up to full strength to face coronavirus-hit Ukraine - GulfToday

Germany beefed up to full strength to face coronavirus-hit Ukraine

Joachim Loew

Germany coach Joachim Loew speaks to his players during a training session in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Friday. Reuters

Berlin: Germany are set to field a full-strength team as they hunt a Nations League win in Kiev against a Ukraine squad which has lost 14 players either injured or suffering from the coronavirus.

The Ukrainian FA (UAF) said on Thursday that Shakhtar Donetsk pair Mykola Matvienko and Brazilian-born Junior Moraes will not face Germany after becoming the latest to test positive for Covid-19.

That comes after six Ukrainian players missed the 7-1 thrashing by France in Paris on Wednesday after contracting the virus.

“Thus, the number of players who due to injury or the coronavirus were unable to partially or fully participate... is 14,” said the UAF on their website.

As cover, Ukraine coach Andriy Shevchenko has called up Donetsk trio Viktor Kovalenko, Romero Marlos and Valeriy Bondar to face the Germans at Kiev’s Olympic Stadium (1845 GMT).

Germany have drawn their last three internationals after conceding late equalisers and will include a host of stars to get back to winning ways.

“It will give us more experience. We will benefit from this,” said Germany head coach Joachim Loew on arrival in Kiev.

Germany captain Manuel Neuer will be between the posts, Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos is back in midfield after a leg injury while Chelsea striker Timo Werner will be up front.

Germany are under pressure to get a first win in a Nations League group also containing Spain and Switzerland.

An inexperienced Germany side surrendered the lead three times in Wednesday’s 3-3 friendly draw against Turkey and Loew has demanded his side finish their chances and control the game in Kiev.

After drawing 1-1 in their first two group games against Spain and Switzerland, Germany badly need a win in Kiev before hosting the Swiss in Cologne on Tuesday.

Up to 21,000 fans - 30 percent of the stadium capacity - will be allowed into the stadium in Kiev according to UEFA regulations

The Germans plan to spend barely 36 hours in Kiev and are under strict instructions to observe the hygiene protocol with face masks compulsory in the team hotel.

“We will be moving around within a bubble and strictly adhering to the regulations,” Loew added.

Germany needs to be “calmer, more mature, perhaps even dirtier”, said defender Emre Can, one of the more experienced in the team at 26.

The Germans plan to spend just 36-hours in Kiev and keep the squad in a high-security bubble with masks compulsory in the team hotel.


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