By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, Nov 12 (Xinhua) - An ongoing injury crisis is endangering Germany's prospects of qualification for the 2020 European Championships. Ahead of vital qualifiers against Belarus and Northern Ireland, national coach Joachim Low remains under pressure as his strategy to oversee a generational change seems to involve unpredictable risks.
Despite having to replace up to ten players this Saturday and next Tuesday, the 59-year-old isn't yet willing to reconsider his previous decision not to select experienced players such as Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller (all Bayern Munich).
With a growing injury list, now midfielders like Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus and Leverkusen's Kai Havertz have joined the ranks of the walking wounded.
After injuries to Niklas Sule (Bayern) and Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), only Matthias Ginter (Borussia Monchengladbach) and Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen) have been left to compete in central defense next to newcomer Robin Koch (Freiburg).
Plans had to be skipped to allow the new-look squad time to warm up and practise routines. "This is far from satisfying," Low complained, underlining that it takes time to organize everything in advance of a major tournament.
Low's critics are growing in numbers, as the coach seems insistent on sticking to his plans by any means necessary, despite the newly-formed squad seemingly struggling to gel. Germany's goal to reach at least the semifinals of Euro 2020 currently seems out of reach.
Low is aware of having lost credibility, according to Germany national team director Oliver Bierhoff, who added that Low "knows he has to deliver satisfying results."
Though Germany may secure a place at Euro 2020 with victory over Belarus, Bierhoff cautiously indicated that Low and his coaching staff might have to reconsider their plans. "We haven't closed all doors for players yet," the former striker commented, suggesting that Low might be forced to revisit his decision regarding the exiled Bayern trio.
Critics see time running out, as Low confirmed he isn't going to call on Hummels, Boateng or Mueller for the two remaining games of 2019. The 2014 World Cup-winning coach said options for changes are still alive for the weeks ahead of Euro 2020.
Low reluctantly indicated he might be pressured to look over the edge, with rumors suggesting that Hummels and Muller may possibly return in 2020.
Pundits and fans alike puzzle over the German coach's intentions. Low seems aware he is under fire by media and fans, some of whom recently demanded his resignation. Supporters' patience appears to wearing thin, as recent games on home soil have not sold out.
The German coach seems determined to make up for the disastrous performance at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. For long, it has been doubtful whether Low will see out his contract, which runs until 2022, as both parties can count on an exit clause after next year's tournament.
Considering that, it appears Low is resolutely fighting for a happy end to his time in charge. Fans now hope that the former striker is making the right decisions at the right time.