By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- German national coach Joachim Loew is in the firing line ahead of this Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Northern Ireland.
German media is speaking of a "do-or-die" situation after the 2014 World Champion is in danger of missing out on qualifying for the European Championships next year after the disappointing 4-2 defeat against the Netherlands last Friday.
Beating the group leaders of Northern Ireland has become a must for Germany if they are secure second place as the Netherlands have won the direct duel (6-5 in aggregate). Only the top two in the group go forward to the finals.
The 59-year-old coach is accused of having chosen the wrong tactics and picking players that were not up to the job in hand. Media, fans, and pundits say the German team was far too reticent. Contrary to recent games Germany counted on a solid defence and counter-attacks.
Loew's overcautious tactical approach weakened his team wrote the Spiegel. The Tagesspiegel said Loew relied on the "false approach".
The Sueddeutsche wrote that "acting like an underdog" was not the right solution while the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said Loew disarmed his team.
In a survey after the match, 90 percent of the fans felt that Loew gambled away the game.
Key performers such as Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich) and Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) demanded more possession and positivity rather than only reacting to the opponent's game.
After his defence's disastrous performance and the obvious inability to create chances up front, Loew is expected to make changes to his team and tactical approach. Some media demand the return of Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels to stabilize the back line and bolster the attacking game.
Loew has rejected the criticism.
It is said Germany will change from a 5-2-3 system to the 4-3-3 set-up with which the team has felt comfortable with lately. It is hoped they will regain stability. The other alternative is to use a 4-2-3-1 to improve their attacking play.
After the 2018 World Cup disaster, the German team still seems insecure and looking for a suitable strategy for future success.
Loew is accused of not having provided appropriate solutions. The German coach seems trapped between the team's prosperous past and the need to modernize his side's style to stay in touch with the modern game.
"We need to increase our speed; we need to think faster and keep our opponents guessing," Loew said in advance of the Netherland game. Instead, Germany lost control and couldn't put its fast strikers into scoring positions.
Having to replace winger Leroy Sane (Manchester City), right-back Thilo Kehrer (Paris St Germain), Antonio Ruediger (Chelsea) and Nico Schulz (Dortmund), Loew is said to be puzzling over his line-up for the crucial encounter in Belfast.
The German coach is expected to return to a four-man defense to have more options in midfield and up front.
Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen) will lose his place and Low will turn to Lukas Klostermann (left-back) and Marcel Halstenberg (both RB Leipzig/right side), as well as central defenders Matthias Ginter (Moenchengladbach) and Niklas Suele (Bayern).
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Guendogan might reinforce the midfield row of Joshua Kimmich (Bayern) and Kroos, while Marco Reus and Julian Brandt (both Dortmund) and Serge Gnabry (Bayern) will be given the nod in attack.