World champs Germany are wounded.
After a 2-0 defeat to bitter rivals Poland in their latest 2016 European Championship qualifier on Saturday, the Germans lost a qualifier for the first time in 33 matches, a run which stretched back to 2007.
[PREVIEW: EURO 2016 qualifiers]
Since their World Cup win in Brazil this summer, Die Mannscahft have lost 4-2 in a friendly to Argentina, while they narrowly beat Scotland 2-1 in their EURO 2016 qualifying opener.
Head coach Joachim Low has acknowledged that his side face plenty of tough matches ahead but that they’ve dealt with teams raising their games against the Germans in the past, and they will have to do so again. Speaking to reporters ahead of Germany’s Group D match at home to the Republic or Ireland on Tuesday, here’s what Low had to say about his teams struggles.
“The difficulties we are experiencing at the moment are of a type that we have experienced many times before,” Low said. “But generally speaking, I don’t think the position now is anymore difficult than it’s always been. We used to be the hunter; now we are the prey. We know that teams like Scotland will play with incredible motivation against us – but that was true even after [the World Cup in] 2010 and [Euro] 2012. We know the situation, we know how to get by it, but it’s no different now than it used to be.”
Germany currently sit third in Group D behind Ireland and Poland and Low’s men know they must start winning again. Qualification for EURO 2016 has seen Spain and the Netherlands already slip up, as the perennial giants of European soccer have been in somewhat of a slumber during the early stages of the campaign.
Perhaps these comments from Low will act to wake his men up as German fans are already calling for personnel changes but, for now, Low is sticking with his squad who have so far struggled to replicate their World Cup success. No time to panic but Tuesday’s match in Gelsenkichen against Ireland represents a chance for Germany to get their qualifying campaign back on track.
As the World Cup holders, Germany are the top dogs everyone wants to take down. How long will it take the hunted to return to being the hunters?