Cologne (dpa) – Joachim Löw is consistently continuing on his way, regardless of allegations of arrogance and debates on tactics. Against Switzerland, “his” national football team should turn their first win of the year into an upward trend.
“We are convinced of our plan, we will go through with it,” announced the long-term national coach one day before the game on Tuesday (8.45pm / ARD) in Cologne. Unlike the complicated restart after the Corona break in the fourth Nations League game of the season, Löw would like to see the right result in addition to further development. That is why he demands “courage and the right offensive accents” from his staff around Toni Kroos, who is celebrating his 100th international match.
Despite the recent 2: 1 in Ukraine, experts like Bastian Schweinsteiger and some media believe that the head coach is on the wrong track with his personal and tactical decisions. Löw did not want to accuse the critics like his ex-captain Schweinsteiger of a lack of respect. “There are completely different opinions in football. Our relationship is absolutely intact,” said the 60-year-old. But he will not change his well-thought-out line. “I wouldn’t call myself thin-skinned and arrogant. I name things the way I feel,” said Löw clearly on Monday.
Löw doesn’t want to change much against Switzerland. But an increase should be recognizable: “I expect more precision in our game.” His players want to “do things better that haven’t gone so well,” as Bayern professional Leon Goretzka said. Unlike many Löw critics, the Munich man referred to the adversities that the coach and team would have to cope with after the corona lockdown. You have “ridiculously little” time to even practice tactical systems and subtleties, explained Goretzka.
For the third international match within seven days, Löw first has to see whether he can completely line up the winners of Kiev. On Monday there were still small question marks. Lukas Klostermann from Leipzig had to be examined for knee problems. His club colleague Marcel Halstenberg complained of muscular problems in the adductor area. And Julian Draxler from Paris Saint-Germain has Achilles tendon problems. But attacker Timo Werner is ready for the starting line-up again after a cold. The attacker from Chelsea FC only came on a short-term basis during the win in Kiev.
The game is a special one for Real Madrid star Kroos: As the 15th German player, he is accepted into the exclusive Club of Hundreds. “A nice coincidence,” said Löw on the anniversary in Cologne, where Kroos still has a residence. “It’s a player who never shows any signs of nervousness,” said Löw, referring explicitly to the most important game in Kroos’ career, the World Cup final in Rio de Janeiro in summer 2014. “Everyone was tense. Toni is calm in person. He rests in himself. He has so much self-confidence in his ability that he radiates it. It doesn’t matter what the opponent is called.”
Since the 2010 World Cup, Kroos has also known the discussions about the ups and downs in the national team. The now 30-year-old also needed some time to gain a permanent place at Löw. After the World Cup title and four Champions League triumphs, he once announced – but without reaping reproaches of arrogance: “Nobody in this footballer’s life will be able to make me doubt myself.” The fact that Kroos is still missing the European Championship victory in his collection of titles could still be a trump card for his teammates, Goretzka noted on Monday.
The players and Löw know that in the event of a setback against Switzerland, the measures aimed at the EM will be questioned more critically again. The fans in front of the TV screens – the stadium in Cologne will be empty due to the high Corona numbers – simply want to see attractive and successful football from the German flagship team.
However, Löw does not see the television ratings, which have recently fallen significantly, as a warning signal: “Between the tournaments we always noticed that interest in the national team – especially in friendly matches – waned a bit.” At the next tournament, the team will “again be the most important thing in the country”.
The Swiss selection, shaped by Bundesliga players, is already fighting against relegation from the A-League. Spain (7 points) leads group 4 ahead of Germany (5), Ukraine (3) and the Swiss (1). Löw is expecting the neighbors in memory of the 1-1 draw in the first leg in Basel “cheeky and brave” and warned: “There will be a lot in store for us.”
The probable lineups:
Germany: Neuer (Bayern Munich / 34 years old / 93 international matches) – Ginter (Borussia Mönchengladbach / 26/32), Süle (Bayern Munich / 25/27), Rüdiger (FC Chelsea / 27/34) – Klostermann (RB Leipzig / 24 / 9), Kimmich (Bayern Munich / 25/49), Kroos (Real Madrid / 30/99), Halstenberg (RB Leipzig / 29/7) – Goretzka (Bayern Munich / 25/26), Gnabry (Bayern Munich / 25 / 14), Werner (Chelsea FC / 24/32)
Switzerland: Summer (Borussia Mönchengladbach / 31/56) – Elvedi (Borussia Mönchengladbach / 24/20), Schär (Newcastle United / 28/56), Rodriguez (FC Turin / 28/75) – Widmer (FC Basel / 27/11 ), Sow (Eintracht Frankfurt / 23/10), Xhaka (FC Arsenal / 28/86), Freuler (Atalanta Bergamo / 28/23), Benito (Girondin Bordeaux / 28/8) – Shaqiri (FC Liverpool / 29/83 ), Seferovic (Benfica Lisbon / 28/67)
Referee: Ruddy Buquet (France)