Low Thinking High, Despite Defeat By Switzerland

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Germany coach Joachim Low rued a lack of freshness after the UEFA EURO 2012 hopefuls suffered a surprise 5-3 away defeat against Switzerland in their penultimate warm-up match ahead of next month’s final tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

The visitors were lacking their FC Bayern Munchen contingent following the Bundesliga team’s UEFA Champions League final loss last weekend, but Low was still able to field a strong lineup in Basel. The UEFA EURO 2008 runners-up nonetheless lost to their neighbours for the first time since 1956 as goalkeeper Marc-Andreter Stegen conceded five times, with Eren Derdiyok posting a hat-trick for Switzerland.

“We are disappointed with this result,” said Low. “We knew that we would be lacking freshness ahead of this game after intensive training sessions over the last few days. Our communication was poor and thus we conceded five goals. It was only a friendly match and there’s a lot to be learned from this game. We made a lot of mistakes, but we still have two weeks and I’m not worried.”

In particular, Low expects his side to be strengthened when he has a full complement to choose from. “Obviously the Bayern players are still missing and we knew that we would be without a few regulars in this game,” he explained. “Bayern’s defeat in the UEFA Champions League final won’t be a topic for us any more; I’m sure they have put that disappointment behind them. We are all extremely focused on the upcoming task of the EURO.

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He also had words of reassurance for Ter Stegen after the VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach keeper endured a difficult debut. “I told Ter Stegen after the game to keep his head up. He has exceptional qualities, but our entire defence made too many mistakes today.”

In the Switzerland camp, German coach Ottmar Hitzfeld praised his charges for exploiting those lapses. “Germany were very dominant at the start of the game and we were lucky to survive the first 15 minutes without conceding.” he said. “We eventually found a way into the game and crucially exploited our opponents’ defensive errors. Germany played very offensively in this game and we used that to our advantage.

“It was obvious that they were experimenting and I don’t expect them to play as offensively as that at the EURO. The defeat could be a good omen for Germany. We were the only team to win against Spain in the last World Cup and they went on to lift the title. Germany still have lots of room for improvement and I’m certain they will have a good EURO.”