Germany players are ready to redeem themselves after a shock World Cup group stage exit as title holders, coach Joachim Loew said on the eve of Thursday’s Nations League opener against new world champions France.
Loew said that the players have shown dedication in training and that a better balance between defence and attack is to reconcile fans with the team in Munich’s sold out arena against France and three days later in a friendly with Peru.
He will continue relying on established forces such as 2014 world champions Toni Kroos, Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng or Thomas Mueller but that the three newcomers in the squad, Kai Havertz, Thilo Kehrer and Nico Schulz, will also get playing time.
“I think everyone knows that the team needs to show real desire in these next games – and we will,” Loew told a news conference Wednesday.
“There is a positive restlessness to do things better than at the World Cup. We have worked very concentrated and focussed. We can feel a spirit of optimism.
“France are the world champions and we can measure ourselves against them. I believe our quality is there in every area.”
Loew said it would be “naive” to believe the World Cup disaster in Russia would be forgotten within a game or two but dismissed as “nonsense” any ideas to change Germany’s possession orientated game plan.
“We don’t want to lose our attacking strength, but we need to stabilise our defence,” Loew said.
The experienced players are to lead the way as he expects them “to get things going” and that for the team overall “you need a mix of young and experienced players.”
Loew added he expects the team to do well to get the fans behind it again, saying: “A match against a world champion isn’t every day. It is up to us to spark the fire.”
Germany’s Footballer of the Year Kroos struck a similar line a few minutes later.
“We have an obligation to create a positive atmosphere. I don’t believe that the fans are coming tomorrow to see how bad we are. They are coming to support us,” the Real Madrid midfielder said.
“We still have the quality but must make sure it is seen again on the pitch. The process is to become a top team over the next two years again. I would be happy if it starts tomorrow.”