Germany vs Czech Republic: Joachim Löw craving goals in Hamburg | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 07.10.2016
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Germany vs Czech Republic: Joachim Löw craving goals in Hamburg

Poor finishing meant Germany paid the price at Euro 2016. The coach has warned his team against such wastefulness in their World Cup qualifiers if they are to retain their title in Russia.

Germany's lack of verticality and strength in attack were pin-pointed as two of the reasons for the 2-0 loss to France in Marseille.

But what will be encouraging for the Germany coach is that the previous two matches - against Finland and a qualifier in Norway - were much crisper, creative performances from Joachim Löw's men.

"I presume that we're going to secure the points. The clear goal for us is to secure six points," Löw told reporters ahead of their second group encounter in 2018 World Cup qualification. 

Löw hasn't found the right balance yet

Germany coach Löw had only three training sessions to prepare for Saturday's encounter. His focus was on intensity in the final-third and working towards the opponents' goal. "It was important to make it clear to the team that we are making our lives difficult, if we don't make it 1-0 or 2-0," explained Löw.

While Germany's Bundesliga may be the highest-scoring league in Europe, the country has profligacy in developing central strikers. Since Miroslav Klose retired after the 2014 World Cup, Löw has struggled to find a tested, reliable option to suit his style. A move back to Wolfsburg heralded new fortunes for Mario Gomez, but the 31-year-old has looked miles off the pace this season.

Bildergalerie berühmte Sportler und ihre Kinder (picture alliance/AP Photo/N. Pisarenko)

Klose retired in 2014 with 71 international goals

Mario Götze frantically held on to his central position at the Euros, but a lack of directness eventually cost the Germans in the semifinal defeat to France. Not even in the under-21 squad is there a regular and proven goalscorer; the kind that European football has struggled to produce in abundance over the last decade.

Meanwhile, there is 'no problem' with Thomas Müller, the unpredictable forward who has seen his performances this calendar year. "If Müller does not score in five games, that is no problem. This is also completely normal," added Löw. Borussia Mönchengladbach's Andre Hahn didn't make the squad, while Sandro Wagner has yet to breakthrough into Löw's plans.

Opposition: Czech Republic

According to the 56-year-old Löw, Czech Republic will be Germany's 'most demanding' opponent in the group phase for World Cup qualification. "The Czech Republic defend well and are good on the counterattack," analyzed the Germany coach at the pre-game press conference in Hamburg.

Karel Jarolim's side are 33rd in the FIFA rankings, but were held to a goalless draw at home to Northern Ireland last month. The Czechs went out at the group stage of Euro 2016 without winning a single match, and have qualified for the World Cup once - 2006 in Germany.

The looming retirement of Tomas Rosicky, now 36 and out of the squad, has enforced the need for young talent coming through in the Czech ranks. Vladimir Darida has been a fantastic acquisition for Hertha Berlin, but is injured after rupturing ankle ligaments. Options to threaten Germany in attacking areas are limited - the most experienced forward player, Matej Vydra of Derby, has collected just 19 caps.

"We're playing against a team that can only be defeated in exceptional circumstances. We hope for a little miracle," Jarolim told German sports magazine "Kicker".