Löw expects to learn from Croatia showdown

German Football
By German Football June 12, 2008 14:57

Löw expects to learn from Croatia showdown

Germany coach Joachim Low is viewing today’s showdown against Croatia as not only an opportunity for his side to book their spot in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008, but also to continue his own footballing education.

Group D pacesetters Germany and Croatia will put their 100% records on the line when they face off in Klagenfurt, with the chance of all-but securing a place in the last eight for the victorious team.

Guiding Germany through is obviously Low’s primary objective, but the 48-year-old is also hoping to use the match as an opportunity to learn from Croatia counterpart Slaven Bilic.

Bilic is nine years younger than Low, but they have been in international management for a similar amount of time having both taken charge of their respective countries in 2006, and Low admits he is keen to learn what he can off all his fellow coaches.

‘I can still learn from a number of people and each and every time I meet with colleagues from other teams I try to take something home with me,’ said Low, who was able to pick the brain of Leo Beenhakker at the weekend, with the veteran Dutchman in charge of Poland.

‘I believe that the discussions and talks that I have been able to have with coaches like Slaven Bilic have been very important for me.’

Low, who was assistant coach to Jurgen Klinsmann during the 2006 World Cup before stepping into the hotseat, admits he is impressed with the job Bilic has done since taking the reins of Croatia.

Croatia finished top of their qualifying group for Euro 2008, beating England home and away in the process, and Low said: ‘He (Bilic) has proved, as a very young national coach, that he has taken his team in the right direction.

‘They played very well in qualifying, with very strong results including wins against England, and that means that not only does he have a strong team but he is also a strong coach.’

Low also spoke highly of the Croatian players, a number of whom will be familiar faces to those who follow German domestic football.

‘Croatia are a team who have a number of players playing in the German Bundesliga, players who have played together before or who play together at present,’ Low said.

‘The Croats are a very experienced team with a very strong defence. They also have (Mladen) Petric, (Ivica) Olic, (Luka) Modric…attacking players who can tip the scales in their favour.’

Croatia captain Niko Kovac is not one of the members of Bilic’s party who currently ply their trade in the Bundesliga, but the 36-year-old midfielder is one of three players in the Croatia squad who were born in Germany.

The Salzburg player said: ‘For the players who play in the German league, this will be a special match. I said earlier that once the players return to their clubs they will want to look back at a positive result, because you know how football players are.

‘That’s an additional motivation, apart from the three points.’

He added: ‘A match against Germany is certainly a matter of prestige, Germany have been world champions three times and they are always at the top in football, but we also want to be there and we will give our best and we will fight.

‘I’m sure the Germans will approach the game in the same fashion because we are not here to play cards and be friends with each other, we will fight each other for the victory.’

German Football
By German Football June 12, 2008 14:57
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