Löw′s Germany set sights on France in 2016 | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 01.01.2016
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Löw's Germany set sights on France in 2016

Germany enter 2016 focused on just one goal. Head coach Joachim Löw and team manager Oliver Bierhoff are aiming to put an "unfortunate" end to 2015 behind them and add a European title to the DFB's trophy cabinet.

In comments published on the DFB's (German FA) website on Friday, Joachim Löw said he was looking forward to working with the national team ahead of Euro 2016 in France - particularly in view of what was seen as a sub-par qualifying campaign - despite the fact that Germany finished top of Group D.

Germany have two friendly matches scheduled for late March against England and Italy, and further test matches are to be organized for the final preparations surrounding the national team's training camp in Switzerland in May. Coach Löw will then have to submit his 23-man roster for Euro 2016 by May 31 - less than a fortnight before Germany's first game of the tournament, against Ukraine in Lille on June 12.

"We will need to make good use of these matches," Löw said. "They will give us the opportunity to learn important things. It is good for us to be challenged at a high level before the tournament begins."

The coach also downplayed concerns about Germany's recent form in front of the opposing goal.

"We are creating lots of chances, that is the most important thing," Löw said, before pledging that he and his staff would be able to work out the kinks in Germany's game in time for France.

"We have always been able to do this before tournaments and this will be the case again," he promised.

While expressing respect for Ukraine, Poland and Northern Ireland, Germany's opponents in Group C, Löw stressed that "we are the favorites and we want to win the group."

January get-together in Munich

Team manager Oliver Bierhoff told the DPA news agency that he and Löw would waste no time in trying to get the national players thinking about next summer's tournament. Bierhoff said they would invite the likely candidates for Euro 2016 to Munich for two days of meetings beginning on January 25 - mainly for marketing work associated with the tournament.

"Apart from the last marketing productions we will inform the players about our plans for the tournament. We want to turn the focus of the players on the Euro," Bierhoff said. "They should at least have it on their minds as the season highlight."

Frankreich Terror in Paris Stade de France

The attacks made the result in Paris irrelevant. For safety reasons, spectators were allowed onto the field after the game.

Bierhoff also noted that the January meeting would be "even more important" after what he described as the national team's "unfortunate" end to 2015. This included a friendly in November when three suicide bombers blew themselves up outside of the Stade de France, where Germany were playing France in a friendly. Just days later, the friendly against the Netherlands in Hannover was called off at the last minute, due what the authorities determined to be a credible threat of an attack.

'No room for terror and violence'

After the Paris friendly, the German team were forced to spend the night in the stadium due to security concerns, before they were whisked away to the airport and flown home the following morning.

Speaking on the DFB website, coach Löw said it had been important for the Euro 2016 draw to go ahead as planned in Paris last month.

"Along with participants from other countries, we wanted to demonstrate that we are carrying on with our way of life, which is defined by openness, tolerance, respect, solidarity, freedom and equality," he said. "We won't allow this to be taken away from us, we won't be intimidated. There is no room for terror and violence."

High expectations

Löw is also well aware of the German fans' expectations going into the tournament, particularly as the national team will arrive in France as reigning World Cup champions.

"It s always expected of us to be title contenders, to go far, to win the title," said a confident Löw, who described his players as being of "enormous quality."

The team manager too appeared confident that this Germany squad could go on to win Germany's first European championship title since 1996 - when a certain striker by the name of Bierhoff scored the tournament-winning golden goal.

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