Amazing Regeneration of Germany’s National Team

The mix of seasoned players and young talent is the traditional formula for a football team’s success. No exception for the German national team, one of the strongest teams in international football in the last decade. Die Mannschaft is at a crossroads of regeneration that has yet to be seen at last.

The disappointment of the 2018 World Cup clearly makes the matter of regeneration even more urgent. The nucleus of a new generation of the German national team has taken shape, with players such as Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka and Timo Werner key to der Panzer’s present. However, on the other hand, Joachim Loew needs to think about who are the veterans who should be summoned to accompany the new generation.

The selection of Loew’s squad after Russia 2018 itself often drew criticism. Especially after a series of bad results in 2020, when Germany only won three wins from eight matches. Germany’s negative record last year peaked when they were overtaken 6-0 by Spain in Sevilla.

One of the criticisms of Loew was for insisting on sidelining three 2014 World Cup veterans, namely Thomas Mueller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels. The three of them are still a pillar in their respective clubs this season.

Especially for Mueller, he is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career. In the 2020/21 Bundesliga, this Bayern Munich academy product has packed 10 goals and 14 assists, making an important contribution to die Roten’s success at the top of the standings. Last season, Mueller also helped Bayern win all competitions that followed and broke the Bundesliga assist record in a season with 21 assists.

To prepare for major tournaments such as the European Cup and the World Cup, Loew launched a biennial plan. The names Mueller, Boateng and Hummels were not included in the plan and he kicked them out in 2019. Throughout the European Cup and UEFA Nations League 2020 qualifiers, the 2014 Brazilian alumni selected by Loew were Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, and Matthias Ginter. Two veteran midfielders, Ilkay Guendogan and Marco Reus were also called up.

At the international break this time, the coach only called up two players who were over 30 years old, namely Manuel Neuer and Ilkay Guendogan. Ahead of the Euro 2020 kick-off in June, Loew wants to strengthen the generation of Kimmich et al to become the backbone of the German squad.

However, the question is, is it wise for Loew’s decision to keep Mueller, Boateng, and Hummels out? Then which veteran players will be included in the upcoming European Cup? Loew himself did not rule out the return of the three players above. However, Loew has prioritized his biennial plans and so far, he feels there are no pressing conditions requiring a change of plans.

“Topics that are often discussed, and naturally this is the case, are about Mueller, Boateng, and Hummels. [We can call them] if the coaching staff and I feel we need extra reinforcement here or there, or we need someone to give new energy or leadership in sport, “he said.

The 2020 European Cup is Loew’s last service before resigning from the coaching chair. Together with the DFB (Germany’s PSSI), he is launching a regeneration that is “ready to harvest” in 2024, when Germany will host the European Cup.

Loew will not be the coach of die Mannschaft in the tournament, but he is also responsible for preparing the future squad, especially preparing for the players who will become veterans such as Kimmich, Goretzka, and Serge Gnabry. The momentum of the 2020 European Cup and Qatar 2022 is a true test for this generation.

“The current players may be a little inexperienced, but they have tremendous potential. “I know thanks to experience and I believe they will achieve the best form in 2024, along with the home tournament [European Cup],” said Loew quoted DW.

In the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, Loew’s squad has reaped satisfactory results so far. Die Mannschaft appeared dominant when defeating Iceland 3-0 and Romania 1-0. Germany recorded 82% possession and 15 shots against Iceland. In Bucharest, Germany beat Romania with 67% possession of the ball and 18 shots.

Loew’s foster children showed total dominance in these two matches. The coach brought down the best line-up of the current generation and reaped positive results. Of the two matches, only Neuer and Guendogan came down as veterans.

The German attack line filled with Timo Werner, Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz, or Leroy Sane was brilliant. Loew uses three strikers who move fluidly in a 4-3-3 grip. Matching the attacking trident was one of Loew’s missions in qualifying and the results have looked promising so far.

The most impressive of Germany’s performances this month is their midfield trio. Loew fielded Guendogan, Goretzka and Kimmich in midfield. All three give Germany the control and stability that is the spirit of the German game.

Kimmich, as no.6, shows his quality as one of the best midfielders in the world. Not only solid protecting the back line, the Bayern Munich player is also actively supporting the attack with his smart passes. Germany’s first two goals against Iceland came thanks to the midfielder’s bait number 6.

Meanwhile, on the back line, the line-up chosen by Loew was quite good. He installed Ginter, Antonio Ruediger, Emre Can, and Lukas Klostermann. The solidity of the four defenders has helped Germany maintain a clean break in the last two matches.

“They [the new generation of Germans] are hungry [for success] and want to learn, the future is theirs. But we have to give them space and time to develop and make mistakes. Mueller, Boateng and Hummels also made mistakes ahead of Brazil [World Cup 2014]; they didn’t become world champions overnight, “said Loew.

On the other hand, Loew also regularly gives turns to young players to appear. Against Iceland, he gave his debut to Jamal Musiala, Bayern’s wonderkid who has stolen the show this season. After the 2018 World Cup, Loew made his debut for 17 young players.

Germany has three generations that deserve summons. Among the young players, there are a number of names from Musiala, Florian Wirtz, to Florian Neuhaus who deserve a chance. In the current generation, Kimmich and his friends are ready to take responsibility as the backbone of die Mannschaft. Meanwhile, veterans like Mueller, Kroos, and Reus continue to try their best and refuse to be dim at club level.

Given Germany’s deep squad, Loew’s decision for the European Cup remains prone to criticism. The eligibility of players in all age groups creates a selection dilemma. Whoever the 23 players are called up in June, Loew will face many questions regarding the players left out. The best answer to those questions is of course the European Cup trophy, a sweet ending to Loew’s career and a ransom for his embarrassing work in the past two years.

ASL

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