LOEW SEEKS EARLY EURO 2012 QUALIFICATION
- Published:03 Ocak 2011, Pazartesi
- Updated:19 Ocak 2011, Çarşamba
Germany are seeking early qualification for Euro 2012 as their chief aim for 2011, coach Joachim Loew and team manager Oliver Bierhoff have said in interviews.
Expectations are high for Germany after reaching the World Cup semi-finals with a young squad and starting the Euro 2012 qualifiesr with a maximum 12 points from four games.
"It's not as if we can just rest the whole year. Our aim is to clear things up early on," said Loew of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
"We want to avoid a 'final' in Turkey. In 2009 it was interesting against Russia but we want to avoid that," he added in reference to group opponents Turkey and last year's World Cup qualifiers.
Germany lead Group A ahead of Austria (7) and Turkey (6), but team manager Oliver Bierhoff told German Press Agency dpa qualification was not a foregone conclusion.
"The danger is in thinking we only have to collect our Euro 2012 ticket. We mustn't carelessly throw away our comfortable position," he said.
The German, however, are planning in the first half of the year to look at possibly bases at Euro 2012 tournament co-hosts Poland or Ukraine. Poland is the preference because of its better infrastructure, Bierhoff said.
Germany have picked some strong opponents for friendlies in 2011, including Italy, Brazil, Uruguay and the Netherlands, with France following in early 2012.
The programme kicks off against Italy in Dortmund on February 9.
"Our aim must be to optimize our playing strength," said Loew.
Loew will be looking to integrate some promising newcomers such as the Dortmund duo Mats Hummels and Mario Goetze into a squad already featuring young players such as Manuel Neuer, Mesut Oezil, Thomas Mueller and Sami Khedira who established themselves at the World Cup.
Others such as captain Michael Ballack, midfielder Simon Rolfes and defender Arne Friedrich will be hoping to find their way back into the national team set-up after injuries.