Löw′s driving license suspended in Germany′s turbulent World Cup warm-up | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 27.05.2014
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Löw's driving license suspended in Germany's turbulent World Cup warm-up

Germany coach Joachim Löw's six-month driving ban is just the latest slip in Germany's World Cup preparations, as the country's football team go through an uncharacteristic spell of bad press.

"I've learned my lesson and will change my driving behavior," said Löw in a statement on Tuesday after his driving license was suspended for six months due to speeding and using his phone while driving. Although Germany's World Cup preparations appear to be following the same high pace that Löw has grown accustomed to, an unusually large number of distractions have accompanied the squad to their training camp.

Team manager Oliver Bierhoff joked, "We will talk to our main sponsors and make sure that Jogi only gets cars from now on which have a regulated top speed." A similar device for the squad's fitness levels would also be welcomed.

News of Löw's driving ban followed a spate of injuries, another Kevin Grosskreutz incident, and more urine-based headlines early this week when the squad underwent a routine doping spot-check. Germany's slogans may suggest they are more ready than ever, but their World Cup preparation has been nothing but turbulent so far.

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After a bizarre squad selection - one that included an extra set of players for an experimental friendly against Poland - things have been far from "proper" for Löw and his team. Injury concerns surrounding Manuel Neuer and Philipp Lahm arose after the German Cup final, adding to an already lengthy list, and hours after the final whistle the ever-versatile Kevin Grosskreutz, who has also recently been reprimanded for throwing a kebab at a fan, was caught urinating in a hotel lobby.

Löw's strong words with Grosskreutz seemed to bring no change in fortune to his squad though. His numbers were always set to be reduced upon arrival due to injuries, but by the time the rest of the Bayern and Dortmund players had arrived, the feeling of unease lingered in the air. Vice captain Bastian Schweinsteiger's knee tendonitis continues to be monitored carefully and despite insisting the training camp "was not a field hospital," Löw was starting to look concerned.

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But there was time before that for more bad news. In the South Tyrolean sunshine, Lars Bender - brother of injured Sven - tore a thigh muscle in a training session to join his twin on the sidelines. Mesut Özil then sat out with a cold, before it became clear that Neuer would most likely be out of training all week.

Perhaps these are just bumps before the road straightens out. After all, captain Lahm is back in full training, a healthy Sami Khedira has joined the camp after his lengthy layoff, and Per Mertesacker is back with the team after spending a few moments with his newborn second child. Nevertheless, this is not the media-trained, perfectly prepared Germany team that we have grown used to under Löw. Maybe that's a good thing though, because for all their well-groomed preparation of the past eight years, they've not got anything to show for it.