Joachim Loew

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Germany coach Loew told to rest after sporting accident

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BERLIN (AP) Germany coach Joachim Loew will miss the side’s upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Belarus and Estonia to recover from a sporting accident.

The German soccer federation says “an artery was squeezed and it is necessary that he remains stationary. The treatment is going well, but the doctor advised the national coach to rest in the coming weeks.”

[ MORE: 3 key battles in UCL Final ]

The DFB does not give details of the accident. German daily BILD reports Loew dropped a dumbbell on his chest while training some weeks ago.

Assistant coach Marcus Sorg is to take charge of the team for the games in Borisov, Belarus on June 8 and against Estonia in Mainz three days later.

Loew says, “I am in constant contact with my coaching staff and we will also be in close contact with each other around the two international matches. Marcus Sorg, (goalkeeping coach) Andy Kopke and (team manager) Oliver Bierhoff have a lot of experience together and together we will bridge this short break well.”

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Germany axes World Cup winners Muller, Boateng, Hummels

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BERLIN (AP) In a continuing shake-up of Germany’s national team following its woeful World Cup campaign, coach Joachim Low on Tuesday axed the experienced trio of Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels from his future plans – paving the way for a new generation of players to take over.

The decision – which caught many by surprise – represents a calculated gamble by Low, who is counting on younger players to fill the void the three Bayern Munich players will leave.

Muller scored 38 goals in 100 appearances for Germany and has been a mainstay since finishing joint-top scorer at the 2010 World Cup. Hummels and fellow central defender Boateng have 70 and 74 appearances, respectively, and formed the backbone of the team’s defense for years.

All three helped Germany win the World Cup in 2014 but now have to pay the price for the team’s botched title defense in Russia, where it was eliminated in the group stage.

“We want to give the team a new look. I am convinced that this is the right step,” Low said. “The youngsters coming through will have the room they need to grow. Now it’s up to them to take on responsibility.”

Boateng, though, said he would have liked to continue playing for Germany.

“Low told me in a straightforward conversation today that I will not continue to be a part of the Germany team because he wants to offer the stage to young players and give the team a new face,” Boateng wrote on Twitter. “I personally am convinced that I can still play at the highest level and I will show that in future. … I’d have wished for a different type of farewell for us.”

Low, who avoided being fired after the tournament in Russia, was backed by German soccer federation president Reinhard Grindel and team manager Oliver Bierhoff.

Grindel said the changes come at “the right time” and Bierhoff hailed “a new beginning for the squad.”

Grindel himself has also weathered the post-World Cup fallout, despite being heavily criticized for his handling of the media storm that was caused by midfielders Mesut Ozil and Ilkay Gundogan posing for photos in London with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan before the tournament.

It led to both players being subjected to abuse from fans and Ozil’s retirement from internationals after the tournament amid accusations of racism. Ozil said he had been made a scapegoat for the World Cup debacle and was particularly scathing of Grindel for adding fuel to the fire.

The national team shake-up has also seen Low drop Sami Khedira, Sebastian Rudy and Kevin Trapp, while striker Mario Gomez retired.

The forced retirements for Muller, Hummels and Boateng mean just four players are left from the World Cup-winning side of 2014 – Toni Kroos, Manuel Neuer, Matthias Ginter and Julian Draxler. It remains to be seen if Mario Gotze or Shkodran Mustafi return.

Players like Niklas Sule, Jonathan Tah, Thilo Kehrer, Antonio Rudiger or Ginter will be expected to fill the void in defense, while Draxler, Timo Werner, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, Julian Brandt and Kai Havertz will shoulder the attacking responsibilities.

More surprises could come on Friday when Loew announces his squad for the upcoming friendly against Serbia on March 20 in Wolfsburg and the first European qualifier against the Netherlands in Amsterdam four days later.

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Man City’s Sane leaves Germany camp after talk with Loew

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Leroy Sane has left Germany camp after a conversation with head coach Joachim Loew, with Germany announcing the move via Twitter.

EDIT: A previous version of this article dealt with concerns about Sane’s attitude given his presumed issues with club and country, but German publication Bild says he’s left camp to be with his pregnant partner.

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Sane played just seven minutes of Thursday’s 0-0 draw with France in the UEFA Nations League, and has played just 30 minutes for Man City in the Premier League after being yanked at halftime of the Community Shield win over Chelsea.

Germany teammate Toni Kroos criticized Sane earlier this week for indifferent body language, so perhaps this is strictly down to a plateau in the maturation of the wildly talented winger.

Sane, 22, scored 14 times with 19 assists for Manchester City last season and was arguably the focal point of their left-sided game plan on many occasions.

He’s been capped 11 times by Germany, but was left off the World Cup roster as the Germans crashed out in the group stage.

Loew: Arsenal’s Mustafi may be out “for a long time”

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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany (AP) Germany coach Joachim Loew says Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi could face a lengthy spell out of the game after sustaining a thigh injury in his team’s 5-1 World Cup qualifier win over Azerbaijan on Sunday.

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Mustafi pulled up suddenly as he attempted to follow Ramil Sheydaev, who went on to score Azerbaijan’s goal, and he was unable to continue. He had to be helped off the field.

[ UEFA: Lewandowski leads Poland to WC; England finish with another win ]

While Bayern Munich defender Niklas Suele went off earlier as a precaution, Loew says, “I think Mustafi has a muscle tear. It looks a bit more serious. A hamstring injury to a muscle tear, we have to wait for the exact diagnosis, but he’ll probably be out for a long time.”

Germany’s young squad comes of age in Confed Cup triumph

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Die Mannschaft – The conveyor belt which exists for the sole purpose of spitting out world-class German footballing talent has done it again: another golden generation seems ready to take center stage after the reigning world champions claimed the 2017 Confederations Cup on Sunday.

[ MORE: Germany outlast Chile to win Confederations Cup ]

Having used what’s been referred to as a “B-team” squad made up of youngsters seeking their first taste of international competition (not a single player on the 23-man squad was 30 years of age), manager Joachim Loew can, and likely will, begin the process of transitioning away from the group that won the 2014 World Cup as he sets his sights on defending the crown 347 days from now in Russia.

After the game, Germany’s all-time winningest manager (102 victories, in 141 games managed) was predictably pleased with the result of his gamble — quotes from the Guardian:

“The fact that these young players have won this trophy is a historic achievement. It’s unique in Germany history. It is just outstanding: players with so little international experience, with so few caps in other final matches, have been playing at the top level of quality.”

[ MORE: Infantino still expects VAR to be used at 2018 World Cup ]

Loew, who’ll begin his 12th year in charge of Germany 10 days from Sunday’s triumph in Saint Petersburg, has proven himself the lone exception to the widely accepted rule that national team managers should hold the job for no more than one four-year World Cup cycle. He, and his homeland, are better with every passing year, and it’ll be unfathomably difficult to look past Die Mannschaft again next summer.