We are the only ones having something to lose at 2018 World Cup, says Loew

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-10 19:35:45|Editor: Zhou Xin
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By Oliver Trust

BERLIN, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- German national coach Joachim Loew has expressed a strong warning to his players to take preparation for the 2018 World Cup serious. "We are the only side that has got something to lose. I demand full dedication from all of my players. They must be aware that every single day counts," Loew said despite ten victories in ten qualification games setting a new World record (30 points) having scored 43 goals.

"To achieve something exceptional you have to work exceptionally much. We can't rest now, lean back and say, we start next May again," Loew stressed. "In Russia, 2018 something historic is going on as far as our ambitions are concerned. It will take an inhuman effort to win the World Cup again."

The German team will start its preparation phase mid-May 2018 in Northern Italy. After a somewhat comfortable qualification group, the 2014 world champion will meet some of the top dogs of international football such as Spain, France, England and Brazil in pre World Cup friendlies. The group draw for the Russia tournament is taking place on December 1, 2017.

Loew demanded from his players to start with their mental preparation right away. The 57-year-old praised his team for a good qualification performance but reminded them "that we will meet opponents of other quality in Russia. We have no reason to celebrate right now."

Loew tested 37 players in Germany's qualification games, more than ever in his era. Next year the German coach will have to select 23 players for his World Cup squad. Loew announced "the hardest competition ever".

Bayern defender Joshua Kimmich was the only one to play all qualification games. Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich) and Sandro Wagner (TSG Hoffenheim) scored five goals.

The German team has reached a benchmark like status, Loew emphasized, "but the tournament next year will be maybe the hardest ever for us." The German coach told German media, he would be disappointed to be eliminated as early as in the semifinals. "When you made it that far, you want to win the competition," Loew said.

Every single one in the German squad should be aware "that we don't just face another tournament. We face a highlight. For players, that means to consider every step when it comes to daily living and training from now on. You can't start to act professional three weeks in advance." From now on players must dedicate their entire life to the World Cup.

Loew said he is still hoping for Mario Goetze, Andre Schuerrle and Marco Reus (all Borussia Dortmund) and Ilkay Guendogan (Manchester City) to return in time. "We don't give up on them. Doors are not yet closed," Loew said.

On top Bayern defender, Jerome Boateng needs to regain full fitness and Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer needs to recover from his foot injury.

Next, to his established forces, Loew is considering young talents such as Timo Werner (RB Leipzig), Leroy Sane (Manchester City) and Leon Goretzka (FC Schalke 04) to complete his tournament squad.

The German coach's message seems to have got to his player's heads. "What we achieved is cool and something for history books. But we don't get any points because of the qualification when it comes to the World Cup games in Russia," Bayern Munich striker Mueller commented.