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2014 World Cup-winning footballers have to stay hungry: Germany coach Loew

IANS logoIANS 05-06-2017

Speaking ahead of the upcoming friendly against Denmark on Tuesday evening, the World Cup qualifier against San Marino and the 2017 Confed Cup in Russia from June 17 to July 2, the 57-year-old warned that there was no comfort zone for anybody in his team, especially with the World Cup looming in 2018, reports Xinhua news agency.

Loew said the German squad was a young and internationally inexperienced squad for Tuesday's match. It only contains three members of the 2014 Brazil squad -- Matthias Ginter (Borussia Dortmund), Julian Draxler (Paris St. Germain) and Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal). Not only that, the squad members have only won a total of 150 caps and scored eight goals for their country at senior level.

Loew said he was convinced that his stars have to stay highly motivated and additional competition will help them to achieve new heights. Key performers like Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Thomas Mueller (all Bayern Munich), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) and Mesut Ozil (Arsenal) "have to stay hungry".

He said he was fully aware of their outstanding class but wanted them to keep confirming their quality. The mission to defend the World Cup title required new input, Loew emphasised.

To shape the additional competition, youngsters need experience on the international stage. The friendly, followed by the qualifier and the Confed Cup, will provide the talented newcomers with the chance to show what they are capable of. Julian Draxler has, for example, developed playing for Paris in the Champions League but still has to prove he is world class when representing his country. Loew said the former Schalke and Wolfsburg player is a future leader when established stars such as Neuer, Hummels and Sami Khedira (Juventus) retire in a few years' time.

Many others like Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Leroy Sane (Manchester City), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Julian Weigl (Borussia Dortmund), Leon Goretzka (FC Schalke 04) and Serge Gnabry (Werder Bremen) are regarded to be highly talented but are not the finished product. But even a World Champion team needs new inspiration four years after its biggest success.

Winning this year's Confed Cup is not vital. The most important thing is that the youngsters gain experience. "In the knock out stages of the World Cup, we have to be certain that we can replace a key figure. It, therefore, helps if he has already gained experience at major tournament," Loew said.

For him, as head coach, it was imperative to see how young players react when sent out onto the international stage.

Loew observed that having the young players around for several weeks was ideal. At the same time, it gave him the time to rest up established stars.

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