German hopes hit by injuries

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German hopes hit by injuries
Germany's coach Joachim Loew attending a training session.

Berlin - Manchester United midfielder Schweinsteiger is the biggest concern


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Published: Wed 11 May 2016, 5:14 PM

Last updated: Thu 12 May 2016, 1:08 AM

Joachim Loew will look to add the European crown in France to Germany's 2014 World Cup triumph, but die Mannschaft's head coach has team worries.
With the clock ticking down to Germany's first Group C game against Ukraine in Lille on June 12, Loew is waiting on captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, defenders Jerome Boateng, Emre Can and Benedikt Hoewedes, plus midfielder Julian Draxler.
"That's five players capable of playing an important role that are injured. I admit a certain concern," Loew said recently. "You always get such problems ahead of every tournament. In 2014, Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger were injured but we managed it. But of course now I hope they'll all stay fit and their injuries won't return."
Manchester United's Schweinsteiger is the biggest concern having injured knee ligaments before the March friendlies against England and Italy.
"We're in regular contact about how his progress is coming along and I'm hopeful," said Loew.
To add to his worries, Loew's team is suffering from erratic form. They backed up a 3-2 defeat to England, having thrown away a 2-0 lead in Berlin, with a 4-1 thumping of Italy in Munich in March.
With Mats Hummels as his only World Cup winner in the back four, Germany's defence crumbled against England when the Borussia Dortmund captain went off and Loew's side found themselves out-muscled and out-thought in midfield.
Things improved against Italy, but Loew will expect his team to improve their finishing and urgency in their final friendlies against Hungary and Slovakia and Hungary before their departure for their Euro base in Evian, south-west France.
The Germans finished top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group, but their defensive frailties were exposed by defeats away to both Poland, who they will again meet in Group C, and the Republic of Ireland.
"There are a few areas which are important and we have to improve on, such as our behaviour in defence, our build-up play and our patterns of running," said Loew. He will celebrate 10 years as Germany's head coach after Euro 2016 having never played for his country at senior level.
Under his stewardship, Germany have cemented their reputation as a tournament team - capable of raising their performances for the big occasions. He replaced Jurgen Klinsmann as head coach in 2006 as Germany went onto finish as runners-up at Euro 2008, then third at the 2010 World Cup.
They reached the last four of Euro 2012, beaten 2-1 by Italy in Warsaw, before qualifying unbeaten for the 2014 World Cup finals.

Joachim Loew set to celebrate 10 years as German national team coach. — AFP file
Joachim Loew set to celebrate 10 years as German national team coach. — AFP file

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