Germany coach Joachim faces tricky year

Munich: Germany coach Joachim Loew is going through “the worst period” right now because the Bundesliga winter break denies him to continue working with his new-look team.
Loew started a major overhaul after a shocking 2018 World Cup group stage exit as title holders but also knows that he must deliver later this year at Euro 2020.
For that, the 59-year-old would prefer more time to work with his team which he won’t gather again until March, after last playing in November.
“A four-months break is not good for our young team,” Loew said. “The long winter break is a step back. We must make a new start in March. That is of course a little annoying for me.”
Germany play their first match of the year on March 26 against Spain in Madrid, followed by a Nuremberg date with Italy five days later. Afterwards, there will be only two more tune-up games in the final preparation for the June 12-July 12 Euros.
Loew has admitted that “we aren’t favourites this time around,” especially because they have been drawn to play world champions France and title holders Portugal in the group stage.
A third team will join the group after the March play-offs, possibly Iceland, and Germany director Oliver Bierhoff said this is “the most difficult group you can imagine.”
But Bierhoff also said that “you want to march until the end when you play such a tournament,” and German football supremo Fritz Keller hopes that playing all group games at home in Munich will boost the team.
“You can ignite football fever in Germany with such a draw,” Keller said, speaking of matches every football fan wants to see.
Loew must turn a talented but unfinished team into a competitive unit within the week in March and a pre-Euro training camp in Seefeld, Austria before their June 16 tournament opener against France. — DPA