Germany manager Joachim Low does not expect his side to be among the tournament favourites for Euro 2020 should they clinch qualification.
Victory over Belarus in Monchengladbach on Saturday will secure Low’s side a place at next summer’s finals provided fellow Group C heavyweights Holland are not beaten by third-placed Northern Ireland, who Germany host in the final round of fixtures on Tuesday.
As soon as Germany officially enter the hat they will be considered serious contenders but Low, who has seen his side as both an emerging force and a conquering one during his long reign, feels others are better developed at present.
“I would compare it to 2010, when everything only came together in the build-up to the (World Cup). I don’t see us as favourites for next year because of the number of young players in the team, but I still feel anything is possible for us,” Low said in quotes carried by UEFA.com.
“Public expectations are always high and we have high aspirations ourselves, but at the moment we cannot dominate a match for 90 minutes. You can only do that when you have been playing together for many years.
“However, we have a very high level of discipline and you can tell the players are trying to improve ahead of EURO 2020.”
Speaking at the pre-match press conference he told reporters Germany could not match the cohesion or consistency in selection of other elite nations.
“France, England, they have been playing with the same players for years,” he said.
“There’s the Dutch, Spain…to play for this title is incredibly difficult.”
Low revealed he would once again give a game each to his two leading goalkeepers, with regular number one Manuel Neuer taking the gloves against Belarus and Barcelona’s Marc-Andre Ter Stegen replacing him against Northern Ireland.
The pair appeared to be at loggerheads in September, with Ter Stegen disappointed at his lack of opportunities and Neuer seemingly critical of his understudy.
The October internationals saw each man given 90 minutes and Low has settled on the same formula again.
“We have spoken to the goalkeepers. Manuel Neuer will play against Belarus, Ter Stegen against Northern Ireland,” Low added.
Belarus cannot qualify through the group but can still reach Euro 2020 via the play-offs courtesy of the Nations League.
Manager Mikhail Markhel approached the chance to face Germany in a positive frame of mind, stating: “You remember games like this for a lifetime, players and coaches, so there is a bit of excitement and we have to deal with that.
“We try to win every match but we understand how strong our opponents are. What matters to me is not the result but how we play.”
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