Oliver Bierhoff believes Germany’s youthful talents have put pressure on the world champions’ established internationals with their performances on the way to the Confederations Cup final.
Joachim’s Low’s side, without a host of rested first-teamers such as Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos and Mesut Ozil, stormed into Sunday’s final in St Petersburg with a resounding 4-1 win over Mexico at Sochi’s Fisht Stadium.
Much-touted Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka tore a considerable hole in El Tri’s challenge with a quickfire early brace to make it 2-0 inside eight minutes, while Timo Werner and substitute Amin Younes scored second-half goals either side a spectacular but ultimately futile consolation from Marco Fabian.
Across three wins and a draw in Russia, against final opponents Chile when the countries met during the group stages, Die Mannschaft have played with attacking verve and tactical intelligence to plunder 11 goals and team coordinator Bierhoff feels those displays have given Low a welcome problem 12 months out from a World Cup defence.
“We’re happy that we reached this point,” he said. “The results were so important, but even more seeing how the players behaved under certain circumstances, so you know certain players better.
“I think every player now has performed well and showed us over the last three and a half weeks their worth in a team.
“That’s some pressure for the first-choice players because a lot of players have played well. You see Leon Goretzka, for example, Josh Kimmich – in the second half he was the captain.
“They are very interesting results for us and I hope for the guys they can win the cup.”
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While Low and assistant Marcus Sorg lack top-level experience from their own playing days, Bierhoff – the man who memorably netted the golden goal winner in the final of Euro 96 – works in a backroom team alongside fellow ex-internationals Andreas Kopke and Thomas Schneider.
Germany’s all-time record goalscorer Miroslaw Klose has joined Low’s staff at the Confederations Cup, while Bierhoff’s one-time striker partner Stefan Kuntz has helmed the Under-21 side’s run to the final of the European Championship in Poland
“The most important thing is the quality of a coach,” said Bierhoff. “Joachim Low also was a former player, he played in the under-21s.
“I think a coach has to understand what a player goes through and [we have] quite a good mix.
“Markus Sorg is a very well-prepared coach. He didn’t play at the highest level, but he is 25 years a coach.
“Having this mix of experience as a player and also as a coach benefits the team. If you have a good player, it is better to talk to them.”
Bierhoff added: “You can see the education of our players. They can perform in different systems, they are quite smart to adapt in certain circumstances and tactics.
“It gives us more opportunities. Normally, with the national team sometimes you only have some days and you just have to manage the players a little bit.
“Here we were able to really start to coach them and they had a lot of fun with it.”
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