Tuesday 24 October 2017

Full-strength Germany rev towards Euro finishing line

Germany's coach Joachim Loew has a full-strength squad as they set targets on the finish line
Germany's coach Joachim Loew has a full-strength squad as they set targets on the finish line

John Fallon

As Joachim Loew welcomed his Germany team into the Frankfurt base last night, he was keen to emphasise that less is best within the blueprint of the World champions.

The manager was present in Munich on Sunday to appreciate the exertions invested by eight of his players as Bayern Munich ended Borussia Dortmund's unbeaten record in style, the coup de grace being his main striker Thomas Muller bagging a brace.

Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger were similarly fatigued by their involvement in the English Premier League's big game on the same day, vindicating Loew's decision to grant the players a day of rest away from the training pitch. A "reboot" was essential, according to the boss.

This afternoon will see the German squad get their preparations officially get under way, with Karim Bellarabi the only expected absentee from training due to the shoulder injury he shipped whilst in action over the weekend for Bayer Leverkusen.

Otherwise, Loew has a full complement to choose from, including the returning Marco Reus, the Dortmund winger whose two first-half goals three years ago instigated the worst-ever home competitive defeat on Ireland.


Their charter flight to Dublin tomorrow morning will be greeted at the airport by the official Mercedes team coach, dispatched to Ireland over the weekend by sea and road, ready to whisk them to their plush lodgings of the Intercontinental Hotel, previously the Four Seasons.

The trip to nearby Lansdowne Road for training and Thursday's game couldn't be easier.

If the logistics seem befitting of royalty, then the team have earned that right.

Despite a partial blip by losing to Poland and drawing against Ireland four days apart a year ago, Germany have responded by winning five ties in a row.

A similar situation faced the side eight years ago when a draw sufficed to secure qualification for Euro 2008 but, according to defender Mats Hummels, Germany's mentality approaching this occasion revolves around just one outcome.

"That draw against Ireland last year felt like a defeat because we dominated the match," said the centre-back who John O'Shea outmuscled six yards out to pilfer a late equaliser.

"Ireland just came to Germany to defend but I don't know what style they will play with it in Dublin.

"Maybe they will be different but our only focus is beating Ireland and Georgia in our final two games to finish top of the group."

Irish Independent

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