Germany's double championship impressive in many ways

By Mike Woitalla

Key players on Germany’s Confederations Cup-winning team, such as Golden and Bronze Boot winners Timo Werner and Leon Goretzka, could have played in the concurrent U-21 European Championship. Yet Germany won that tournament as well.

On Sunday, Germany won the Confederations Cup final, 1-0, over two-time defending Copa America champion Chile -- within 48 hours of Germany winning the U-21 Euro title with a 1-0 win over Spain.

Chile’s starting lineup had a combined 944 caps; Germany’s 193, led by 23-year-old captain Julian Draxler, who now has made 35 national team appearances and won the Golden Ball at the Confederations Cup.

The average age of Germany’s starting lineup in Russia on Sunday was 24 and its roster, the youngest at the tournament, included only three players from its 2014 World Cup-winning roster and only six from its 2016 Euro semifinal team.

Before the tournament, Russia's World Cup organizing committee chief Alexei Sorokin criticized Coach Joachim Loew for not bringing Germany’s big guns to the World Cup dress rehearsal.

“The soccer fan’s heart bleeds when the world champion comes without its stars,” Sorokin said. “That’s why they come to the stadium.”

Loew defended his decision to bring a B team:

“Those players who played so many games reach their limit at one point. … I planned from the beginning to use the Confederations Cup to polish the younger players. ... After the World Cup title in 2014, we need to generate a new competitive situation. That motivates our world champions, Champions League winners and Bayern's many title-winning players. … In the end, if three or four players make the World Cup squad out of the Confed Cup, that is already a success."

Not only did Loew succeed providing experience to a new generation, Germany lifted the title. En route to the final, it beat Mexico, 4-1, in the semis after in group play beating Australia (3-2), tying Chile (1-1) and beating Cameroon (3-1). Portugal finished third thanks to a 2-1 overtime win over Mexico.

Meanwhile, Germany’s U-21s were trying win the European crown for the first time since 2009, when its team included future 2014 World Cup winners Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil.

Among the Confederations Cup players, besides Werner and Goretzka, six others were eligible for the U-21 Euro, including Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich, Liverpool’s Emre Can, Bayer Leverkusen’s Julian Brandt and Borussia Dortmund’s Matthias Ginter.

(Note: The 2017 U-21 European Championship was for players born in 1994 or later. The players were 21 years old or younger when qualifying began in 2015. By finals time, it’s actually a U-23 competition.)

Before beating Spain in the U-21 final, Germany beat England in a PK shootout after a 2-2 tie in the semifinals. Goalkeeper Julian Pollersbeck, defenders Jeremy Toljan, Niklas Stark, Yannick Gerhardt and midfielders Maximilian Arnold and Max Meyer were named to the tournament Best XI.

Just how deep is Germany's talent pool? Manchester City winger Leroy Sane, a $50 million transfer from Schalke 04 in 2016, and Dortmund midfielder Julian Weigl, who's being courted by Barcelona and Real Madrid -- they are both 21 years old. They missed the Confederations Cup because of injury.

6 comments about "Germany's double championship impressive in many ways".
  1. Ben Myers, July 3, 2017 at 11:20 p.m.

    The GMNT victory is a wakeup call to the entire world of soccer. They are the team to beat in Russia, a possible repeat. Loew did a masterful job of selecting the team and coaching it to play cohesive disciplined technical soccer, with super composure all around. As I said before, the USSF would do well to move this country to a continental European player development model, take your pick: Germany, France, Belgium or Italy. But Sunil Gulata is too busy chasing dollars and Don Garber? I have no idea what he is doing to better soccer in these United States.

  2. Nick Daverese, July 4, 2017 at 12:52 a.m.

    Ben they are the standard at practically every level. You don't win the WC in Brazil and not be the standard.

  3. Thomas Sullivan, July 4, 2017 at 8:49 a.m.

    Germany is an amazing story but what I was left with after watching was, the referees were terrible in this game - all of them. Germany's subs came on the field and nothing happened! Calling for video review in a most capricious manner. I hope none of that team is at the WC. To be clear, Germany and Chile both got away with a lot. That said, Chile got the worst of the refing and should have come away with a better result.

  4. Nick Daverese, July 4, 2017 at 9:18 a.m.

    Watching a game or appreciating art what one see's is different for everyone it is all subjective.

    I think a big reason for Germany winning the WC in Brazil was their core team was taken from the two best teams Bayern Munich and Dortmund plus plenty of strikers from other teams as the supporting cast. Plus the over all game plan was probably the best I have ever seen in a team. They can play possession, they could counter they can do everything. Plus their keeper was like have a man advantage for the tournament sweeper and a keeper in i man.

    I can't see them adding two man faces even as subs. But they can add a couple.

  5. mary stock, July 4, 2017 at 6:53 p.m.

    Mary Stock, "MNTs Bundesliga Boys," YouTube. Very interesting that many of you are suggesting the U.S. team should be fashioned after the German team. Well, it WAS, guys! We almost beat Germany in group play at the 2014 WC. No exaggerating. A reporter rushed onto the pitch to ask Peter Mueller what he thought of the American team. He said, "THEY PLAY JUST LIKE THE GERMANS." We came within a hair of beating them. Franz Beckenbauer, one of Germany's all-time greats, has said so many times. Our team played superbly, at a much higher level than could be expected. Don't fail to give credit where it's due. Show your generosity of spirit, guys. Yes, that means Klinsmann.

  6. Bob Ashpole, July 6, 2017 at 1:49 a.m.

    Mary you are misunderstanding the discussion. They are not talking about the MNT's style of play. They are talking about player development models.

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