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Germany coach Loew puts focus on elite group of young players By Jens Mende

Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa
Published: Wednesday September 27, 2006

By Jens Mende, Berlin- Germany coach Joachim Loew is to put an elite group of young German players under the spotlight in a bid to improve the country's chances of winning the 2008 European Championships and 2010 World Cup. Around 15 to 20 German players who are either already playing for the national team or who are on the verge of an international call- up will receive intensive attention in the next few years under a plan revealed by Loew Wednesday in an interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Loew said "individual support will be more important" under his aegis, but there will be no change in the footballing philosophy which led to an attacking Germany team under Juergen Klinsmann at this year's World Cup.

Loew, who was assistant to Klinsmann at the World Cup, told dpa: "We will have a group of 15 to 20 young players who we will be accompanying and observing more intensely.

"We will have talks with them every month and intend to create performance profiles with the aim of preparing them for the big tournaments of 2008 and 2010.

"We will be making it clear to them that we want to improve them as future national team players in two to four years."

Loew said under-21 players such as Hamburg's Piotr Trochowski, Eugen Polanksi (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Stefan Kiessling (Bayer Leverkusen), Gonzalo Castro (Bayer Leverkusen), Jan Schlaudraff (Alemannia Aachen) and Mario Gomez (VfB Stuttgart) would be candidates for the elite group.

But intensive support would also be given to young players already in the Germany team like Lukas Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger (both Bayern Munich) or the Borussia Moenchengladbach defender Marcell Jensen.

"There is no reason to change our philosophy, but there must be further development, new impetus and progress," Loew said.

"Tactical matters, group work and individual training will play an even greater role. We also want to set up a football databank in which (details of) all players who are relevant to us are stored."

Loew intends to present his concept in Frankfurt Thursday to German football's new "competency team" which is discussing the way forward for German football.

The team, under the chairmanship of national team manager Oliver Bierhoff, includes Loew, sport director Matthias Sammer and representatives of the German Football Federation (DFB) and German Football League (DFL).

Loew said his concept was for the short to medium-term and he envisaged no clash with Sammer, who also intends to set out his longer-term plans for the training and fostering of young players.

German hockey coach Bernhard Peters, who has just stepped down as national team hockey trainer after winning the World Cup, is also expected to be brought on board by Loew in some capacity.

Loew has said he would like Peters to act as an external adviser for the national team. Peters had been wanted by Klinsmann and Loew as technical director ahead of the World Cup, but the DFB insisted on a footballing man and chose ex-player and coach Sammer instead.

Loew said the "competency team" will be discussing "in which form" Peters can be used.

© 2006 DPA - Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa