DIETMAR HAMANN: Lame duck coach, a disgruntled squad and a muddled midfield… I’ve never been less confident about Germany’s chances at a tournament
- Not many are tipping Germany to win Euro 2020 despite being usual favourites
- They won their fourth World Cup seven years ago but team is in disarray since
- Joachim Loew’s side are in ‘group of death’ alongside France and Portugal
There was a poll recently of 50 journalists from the countries who have qualified for the Euros, asked who they thought would win the tournament — and not one of them answered Germany.
We are three-time champions, won our fourth World Cup just seven years ago, and yet we arrive at a Euros with no one giving us a chance.
And you can add me to that list as well because I have never been less confident going into a finals.
Germany go into Euro 2020 this summer with not many backing them to go all the way
The group is a seriously tough one with both France and Portugal to play in our first two matches. And at the moment it’s hard to be positive about either fixture.
Actually, that’s not quite true. The positive is that if we do — as I expect we will — lose to France, Jogi Low will have to change his team against Portugal.
At the moment we are looking at playing a 3-4-3 formation based on the last competitive match, against North Macedonia, and the two friendlies against Denmark and Estonia. And that can only be out of fear of the French.
My guess is that Low is thinking that if he packs the defence we won’t get over-run. But in that case why is he leaning towards a midfield featuring Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan? They aren’t the players you need in midfield against France — the French side are warriors, monsters, and we need to match them.
The German team do not look as well placed to claim the trophy despite rich history
Kroos looks great in the Real Madrid team with Casemiro behind him. Gundogan looks great in the Manchester City team with either Rodri or Fernandinho behind him. But Germany aren’t Real Madrid or Manchester City — we don’t play that way and we don’t have the players to play that way.
I long had doubts about Josh Kimmich being switched from right-back to central midfield but right now he looks the obvious fit for that holding role because he brings defensive knowledge to the role. Then you have to play Leon Goretzka alongside him, if he’s fit. You have to. And Low won’t.
Two names who will be on the teamsheet are Mats Hummels and Thomas Muller, axed two years ago but recalled by Low — and believe me not everyone’s happy about it.
Joachim Loew (pictured right) has come under pressure since signing new contract in 2018
You read the papers in Germany over the past few weeks and everything is about Muller and Hummels — they are the story, riding in to Low and Germany’s rescue because they provide the quality that wasn’t there otherwise.
Suddenly, the chemistry within the group has changed. Suddenly, everyone is talking about players who had nothing to do with getting the team to the finals, ignoring the other 24 who are no longer part of the conversation. And then there’s the issue of reintegrating them into the routines and the training after a long time out.
Listen, Low has brought all this on himself and has no one else to blame. They should never have been axed in the first place but I’ve heard that a few of the senior players in the group weren’t happy when they came back. I don’t see a unified group.
Joshua Kimmich looks like the obvious best option in midfield after shifting from right-back
I’m really uneasy about the next few weeks and this can all be traced back to Low signing that new contract just days before the last World Cup in Russia, which looked ridiculous at the time and so it has proved. We flopped at the World Cup and are not progressing.
Four years ago we were crowned European Under-21 champions. But how many of that victorious squad have gone on to make the squad for these Euros?
One. Just one. Serge Gnabry.
These have been three wasted years under Low who should have gone after the Russia fiasco.