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German team leaders cite attitude as
reason for dire straits in World Cup

By Sportswriter Oliver Trust BERLIN Germany (Xinhua) -- Germany’s leading players have said that their defeat against Mexico was a “warning shot” and promised to redeem themselves and make German fans happy again.

The team’s key figures like captain Manuel Neuer and striker Thomas Mueller said the tactical approach by coach Joachim Loew is not to blame for the team’s critical situation. They say the team’s wrong attitude was to blame.

After intensive discussions within the team, the players have taken responsibility for the disastrous performance and have promised to be fully focused for their second group game against Sweden in Sotschi on Saturday evening.

German media called the discussion a “crisis meeting”.

Germany’s general manager Oliver Bierhoff said the team is now facing “a final that is coming very early in the tournament.” Both the team and the officials are all very disappointed, “but we now have to face reality and reality is a final.”

“The team has understood that we will face life or death in the game against Sweden,” Bierhoff emphasized. If the 2014 world champions are to proceed past the group stage, they will have to beat the Scandinavians.

Mueller admitted the team was wrong in assuming “things would just happen.” The Bayern Munich striker said the team had obviously “underestimated” the pressure and the “difficult job we face as the defending champions.”

It is not possible for a team to be “cool and relaxed”, Mueller added. Things will not work out because they have always worked out in the past. He admitted, “It is a problem developing the same greediness again but we have got the message now.”

Neuer and Mueller both denied the team had fallen into different groups about the general tactical approach.

Central defenders Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng have criticized the team’s attacking approach and called the game style “too risky” and “too thoughtless”. Trying to win the game only based on the attacking power was the wrong way, Hummels underlined.

Mueller demanded that the team has to rely on its team spirit saying “We shouldn’t make the mistake of falling into disarray.”

The Sueddeutsche newspaper wrote that the German team had panicked when things didn’t work as expected.

Bierhoff said he is expecting “some impulses” from national coach Loew. “We have to be prepared for a hard fight and it is not going to be a piece of cake.” The general manager made it clear that the coaches have to find the right answers and help the team to improve.

Loew is expected to change his starting eleven but not radically. Consistency is important in darker hours, the head coach commented.

Germany’s U21 coach Stefan Kuntz told German television that Loew might consider Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund) and Ilkay Guendogan (Manchester City) to start against Sweden. This would mean midfielder Sami Khedira (Juventus Turin) and center forward Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) would lose their places.

Kuntz said Loew wouldn’t leave out Mueller and Mesut Oezil (Arsenal). German fans and pundits blamed both for the poor performance against Mexico.

Cologne left back Jonas Hector will return after missing the curtain-raiser against Mexico with a bad cold.

Mueller promised the team “will show a different face when we meet Sweden.” The team is ready and united “as we have developed a suitable plan and every one of us knows what to do.”



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