Low looking to lead Germany back to top spot

The mood of Joachim Low has rarely been better. After returning from an injury-enforced break which forced him to miss his team’s last two games, he seems full of determination and energy.

With a broad smile running over his face, the 59-year-old proudly announced he has given up smoking, but adopting a healthier lifestyle doesn’t seem the only change the German national coach has made ahead of Germany’s Euro 2020 qualifier against the Netherlands this Friday.

The 2014 World Cup-winning coach seems entirely focused on his latest, but perhaps most crucial mission to lead the German side back to the world’s top spot.

The former striker recently announced he wouldn’t be a national coach forever. He is rumored to decide on his future after the 2020 European Championships, and is considering ending his career as national coach after the 2022 World Cup.

It is apparent that Low wants to use the restart with his newly-formed young team to make up for a disappointing group stage exit at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Insiders say Low’s primary target is to pass on a promising side to his possible successor.

Players such as experienced Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos have noticed their coach’s new approach. The 29-year-old has reportedly found Low more strict and uncompromising. Quality and a perfect performance are what he wants to see, and he follows that plan resolutely, Kroos says.

These days, Low is eager to point out the significance of the changes in his selection policy, designed to open doors to a new era.

“The team is in a great mood, I must say that. They have fun together setting new goals and achieving the highest goals up to and beyond 2020,” he commented, adding that the current team spirit reminds him of the squad of 2010 in advance of that year’s World Cup in South Africa. “They are learning very fast.”

The German coach praises his youngsters’ progress, while reminding the public they still need to gain experience and stability. “But they have the ability to reach the top,” he commented, talking about Kai Havertz, Jonathan Tah (both Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund), Leroy Sane (Manchester City), Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Niklas Sule, Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka (all Bayern Munich).

Sane and Goretzka will miss the Netherlands game with injuries.

Low said the youngsters are aware they can reach the highest goals, and called Havertz and Gnabry the key performers of the future. “Gnabry will always be part of my starting eleven when he is around,” Low added.

Meanwhile, the German coach has adjusted his team’s game style, demanding more speed and space gain. Talking about the tactical systems (4-4-3 or 5-2-3) he prefers, Low made clear that this new German team will always play with three “real attackers.”

Facing the Netherlands and group leaders Northern Ireland is a welcome test “to see how far we have got already,” Low emphasized, adding he convinced his side will soon play a vital role in world football again. “I am more motivated than ever to reach that goal.”