Germany vs USA - The battle of two masterminds
Updated: 2014-06-26 12:22
Jurgen Klinsmann and Joachim Loew, former partners and best buddies, will once again stand on the same soccer pitch, but this time on opposite sides. Former Germany coach Klinsmann, who now takes charge of the US team, will compete with successor, Loew in the final Group G match. Klinsmann resigned from the German national team after World Cup 2006 and Loew took over on Klinsmann's recommendation.
Germany finished third at the 2006 World Cup, led by then coach Jurgen Klinsmann, left, and assistant Joachim Loew, second left, July 8, 2006. [Photo/IC]
Germany, USA fight for Group leader
BERLIN - When Joachim Loew and Germany meet Juergen Klinsmann and Team USA in the final group match on Thursday, it will in no way be just another World Cup match. It's even more than a battle for three points.
As the clear favorites, the Germans will have to improve on their weak performance against Ghana (2-2). They will also be looking to prove that they are not only tactically but physically the better team.
Klinsmann will on the other hand be trying to prove his detractors wrong by showing that his tactical brain is as equally as good as his former assistant Loew.
The decisive tactical hot-spot will be at the heart of midfield but not only there as the flanks will also be vital. It will be a battle of two masterminds, despite many World Cup games that have been decided by physical fitness.
Against Team USA, Germany's game will have to show greater metal on the wings and in midfield as the USA will no doubt concentrate on pressurizing German captain Philipp Lahm who is the center of much debate in Germany.
Former captain Michael Ballack said the German team is weaker with Lahm in defensive midfield and that the 30-year-old would be much more valuable as a right back. Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho thinks the same. But Loew will stick to Lahm in midfield and again play with four central defenders at the back despite their weakness going forward.
Fight to control midfield
Despite everything, Loew insists on his team having more possession than Klinsmann who allows his team more freedom in midfield and down the flanks. Therefore Germany will have to take control of any space appearing in midfield and be on the alert for any US counterattacks. The final group game is likely to be the most intense so far for both teams.
Mobile strikers against a highly physical US
Against the no nonsense US defense, Loew will again need mobile strikers such as Mario Goetze or Lukas Podolski up front - the latter may make his first appearance in the starting line-up in Brazil. One of Goetze or Mesut Oezil might well take up a place on the bench despite Loew being a fan of Oezil. Center forward Miroslav Klose will most likely keep his "joker role" as Thomas Mueller seems to offer more variety in the spearhead.
Germany takes it serious
The Germans are taking USA very seriously as Thomas Mueller and Loew's reactions show. "It can be all over very quickly at the World Cup. We have to be fully concentrated every second," said Mueller. And Loew is also very positive. "Much more important than any discussion about the starting eleven or particular positions are the thoughts in players' heads," said Loew who continued, "It means they have to be on full alert at all times. It all starts in one's head."
Both only need a point
Despite all the discussions about Lahm and his teammates, Loew does not feel he has to panic. "I see things from the inside and I'm confident. Things get really tough as soon as the group matches are over and every single mistake means you are on your way home," warned Loew who knows that both his German team and Klinsmann's USA only need a point to qualify for the knock-out stages.