By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Joachim Loew seems to have found a way to successfully defend the World Cup in Russia next year. A broad smile appeared on the face of the 57-year old after Germany's B-team of youngsters gave him every reason to be satisfied when drawing 1-1 in Denmark - and this after only one training session after returning from holiday.
The risky plan to create additional competition for his 2014 World Cup winners by introducing young talented players to the senior team could well pay off. Loew is giving most of his World Cup stars a break to recover one year ahead of the 2018 tournament. It is his chance to give the youngsters much-needed experience.
While newcomers such as Marvin Plattenhardt (Hertha BSC), Amin Younes (Ajax Amsterdam) and Kerem Demirbay (TSG Hoffenheim) only made short appearances in the second half, others such as Paris goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, Hoffenheim striker Sandro Wagner and Moenchengladbach midfielder Lars Stindl produced impressive performances.
Trapp for instance has gained ground against Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen in his first game for his national team in the race for the job as number two behind Bayern Munich's Manuel Neuer.
Players like Schalke midfielder Leon Goretzka, Bayern Munich defender Joshua Kimmich and Paris striker Julian Draxler have developed into serious rivals for the established German stars. Center forward Wagner is a real alternative to the present incumbent Mario Gomez (VfL Wolfsburg).
28-year old Draxler was given the responsibility of leading the team against Denmark. Kimmich was man of the match not only scoring the 1-1 equalizer shortly before the final whistle but carrying the German game forward in a 3-5-2 system. Kimmich's performance on top puts additional pressure on Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti to rely on the youngsters quality as Kimmich in Bayern's last season was mostly sidelined by the Italian.
Goretzka showed just why his progress is being closely followed by the 2017 German champion, Bayern Munich. The 22-year old is regarded to be one of the country's most talented youngsters and on his way to becoming world class as a so called box-to-box player. In only his fourth international he took on a leading role directing the team.
Not only has Munich's management recently praised Goretzka but Loew as well. His performance in the Denmark game makes him a likely squad member in Russia next year.
Loew said the newcomers developed a team spirit very quickly which is important as the mood in the squad will be essential for a long tournament like the World Cup.
Loew emphasized his intention is to raise four to five young players to a higher level in time for football's biggest prize. He is convinced the plan is vital for Germany be successful in its attempt to win a fifth World Cup. In the knock out phase, he will certainly have to rely on the help of youngsters as even a world champion needs new inspiration and input.
Looking at the enthusiasm his youngsters generated Loew admitted that he was highly satisfied. The head coach said he saw many positive aspects when talking to the German media after the friendly in Copenhagen. The young German team pleased spectators with its constant passing and the will to go forward.
Like Loew, the team manager Oliver Bierhoff was also pleased by the performance. Bierhoff said the youngsters have done a good job and showed enthusiasm.
Loew told his staff that going to Russia next year with 20 world champions is not a guarantee for success. The key is to create new competition and implement changes within the squad.
He has told players and association officials not to talk about the plans to defend the title. He insists the 2018 World Cup is a completely new competition and wants to avoid a feeling of complacency.
Ahead of the Confederations Cup from June 17 to July 2 in Russia, Germany will face rank outsiders San Marino in a World Cup qualifier this Saturday in Nuremberg. At the Confed Cup, they will face Australia, Chile and Cameroon in the group stage.
Despite giving his 2014 World Cup stars a break, Loew said the Confed Cup is a fantastic chance for youngsters to gain international experience at a major tournament. He also said the preparatory competition is the most important event in 2017 as the eyes of the entire football world will be focused on the games in Russia.