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GET LOW TO GET HIGH

Lothar Matthaus: Either do it the Joachim Low way… or Germany’s players can take the highway

Low turned Die Mannschaft into world champions in 2014 and now aims to do it again

JOACHIM LOW proved he can win the World Cup in 2014 — now he aims to win it again.

He’s what the German system was designed to find. When I came into the side in 1980 the coach was Jupp Derwall.

 Lothar Matthaus gives SunSport his views on Germany
EPA
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Lothar Matthaus gives SunSport his views on Germany

He was not a great coach but a nice person. Jupp was the players’ friend, a second father.

Joachim is different. He is a teacher. He does not just look at players on the pitch. He looks at their character too, sees what they are like as human beings.

Everything has to be done as he wants to stay in his plans. If you don’t fit his system you are out.

That goes for everybody. He will give you one chance, and a second chance, but you don’t get a third chance.

 Joachim Low won the 2014 World Cup with Germany
Getty
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Joachim Low won the 2014 World Cup with Germany
 Low and his players celebrate Germany's 2014 win
Getty
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Low and his players celebrate Germany's 2014 win

That is Germany at the World Cup. I wouldn’t call it a “winning mentality”. Everybody wants to win. But Germany focuses on the team. They must be that unit, fighting and playing for each other.

It started with our first coach Sepp Herberger. He worked the players and changed them.

He was very close with Fritz Walter, his 1954 World Cup captain.

Helmut Schoen, his assistant and replacement, was not a strong character but a man-manager who made the players believe.

There were no complicated training drills — but he had Franz Beckenbauer, Sepp Maier and Gerd Muller.

Jupp worked under him and came through the coaching system. We won Euro 1980, were finalists at the 1982 World Cup but by 1984 Euros we went out in the group stage. Everybody was upset.

The DFB, our FA, decided to go for a big name who could enthuse everybody. This was a surprise.

Franz Beckenbauer had never coached before but he was the right choice. When he talked to us, we believed him.

He made me captain, said he trusted me to lead and gave me the confidence to communicate with the team.

Franz was a great but not hands-on. He recognised that, as did the DFB, so they named Holger Osieck as his No 2.

 Franz Beckenbauer had never coached when he led Germany to the 1984 Euros
EPA
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Franz Beckenbauer had never coached when he led Germany to the 1984 Euros

Berti Vogts, who replaced Franz, had been groomed for a long time. He won Euro 96 but by the time we went out early in ’98 Erich Ribbeck, who had been Jupp’s No 2, was boss.

It didn’t work — out in the first round of Euro 2000 — and then came Rudi Voller, another big ex-player.

But 2004 was embarrassing and bringing in Jurgen Klinsmann was similar to Franz.

Again, we needed a leader, a World Cup winner, to transform the mood. Jurgen was perfect. But he needed a coach. Joachim was somebody in the system who could help and support.

 Joachim Low was previously assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann
AFP
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Joachim Low was previously assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann
 Low took over as Germany boss in 2006
PA:Press Association
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Low took over as Germany boss in 2006

We reached the semi-finals in 2006 and Joachim took that on, building up to 2014. The DFB had faith when he made three successive semi-finals. It was building confidence.

German players know how to win the World Cup. The first round is about getting through.

In the second round, every mistake matters.We tend not to make too many. Every game must be like a final. Everything depends on results when it matters.


ALAN SHEARER Brazil are ultimate entertainers… but let’s hope England can thrill in Russia


When Gareth Southgate was appointed, it was the first time England had done what we do.

But if you want our continuity, you have to start getting results like us.

Half of our fans believe Germany WILL win the World Cup again. We have a great chance. Everyone knows we’ll go a long way. We always do...

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The German squad fool around as they try to take their team photo ahead of the World Cup