By Oliver Trust BERLIN Germany (Xinhua)
-- German head-coach Joachim Loew was
long known as someone who rarely changed his ways.
In all his five
major tournaments, the 58-year-old has followed the same
pattern: Consistency inevitably leads one to success. Everything
seems to have changed at the 2018 World Cup. The 2014 World
Champion coach has turned into an improviser.
From a German
perspective, Loew’s ability to adapt his working patterns to
adverse circumstances is more than a surprise. For years it was
rather easy to predict his starting eleven. Old stars could
count on his loyalty and vice versa.
worked out well as the team reached at least the semifinals at
the last five European Championships or World Cup.
In contrast, Loew
has now been forced to abandon familiar patterns. After only two
group games, he has paved the way for the farewell of his 2014
When Germany battles
for a ticket to the last 16 in their final group match against
South Korea this Wednesday, it is not unlikely that only four of
the 2014 World Champions will remain in his starting lineup.
After two group
matches, improvising artist Loew has already used 18 different
players - precisely the same number that donned the German shirt
at the entire 2014 World Cup. Additional changes are most likely
four years after the Brazil tournament.
The 2014 heroes
might have secured their place in German football history books,
but in 2018 they stand for a glorious past.
Against Sweden, Loew
only turned to five 2014 World Champions, the ban of Jerome
Boateng (for a second yellow card against Sweden) could decrease
the number to just four against South Korea.
The football world
is still full of admiration for the typical never-say-die
attitude of German players as Toni Kroos scored the winning goal
in the final seconds of stoppage time.
Loew is now hoping
his Germany team gets into rhythm. Well-known as a “tournament
team” the hope is for them to improve with each game.
The dying minutes in
the Sweden game were some of Loew’s darkest moments as he had
one foot in the grave.
The man, who until
the Sweden game, was known for a perfect hairstyle and outfit,
seemed to have turned into an unkempt, doubtful coach. His hair
pointing in all directions, his t-shirt pulled out of his pants
- Loew showed all the signs of a desperate man.
Shortly after, he
seemed to have started his new career as director of change.
Who could have
predicted that names like Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen),
Sebastian Rudy (Bayern Munich), Marco Reus (Borussia Dortmund)
and Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) would appear on the team sheet
while Mesut Oezil (Arsenal) and Sami Khedira (Juventus Turin)
took up places on the bench.
Werner, Brandt and
Reus widen Loew’s options and improve the German game regarding
speed and variability. They are on their way to become the
successors of Germany’s golden generation.
Loew’s message that
“every single player of the entire squad is important” was never
as relevant as today. Heroes of the past are not forgotten or
excluded in 2018, but they have to find their place in an
emerging German team. A team that still has a long way to go and
the next round in Russia has yet to be secured.
Should things work
out as fans hope and Germany beats South Korea to proceed to the
last 16, a new challenge could be waiting for Loew’s improvised
eleven as the next opponent is likely to be Brazil. More
improvisation appears to be on the cards.