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Loew says “good bye” to Germany’s 2014 World Champion team

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.

Everything has 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 heroes.

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.

           

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