Goetze sites out Euro clash with Belgium

German Football
By German Football October 10, 2011 11:23

Goetze sites out Euro clash with Belgium

Germany coach Joachim Loew has excused midfielder Mario Goetze for the final European Championship qualifier against Belgium on Tuesday.

“Goetze had a lot of games last season and has a lot coming up (for Borussia Dortmund) so we simply decided to give him a bit of a rest,” Loew’s assistant Hansi Flick said Sunday.

Germany tops Group A and has already qualified for next year’s tournament with nine wins from nine games. Second place Belgium needs to win to secure a playoff spot ahead of Turkey, which is one point behind and hosts Azerbaijan. “We’re taking the game very seriously, and we’ll try and get the 10th win,” Flick said.

“It’s our duty to give everything,” Flick said. “Our performances have been impressive following the World Cup and we want to give our fans a good game … Belgium has a lot of young talented players (but) we know what to expect. We’ll try to win the game regardless of who plays.”

Midfielders Ilkay Guendogan and Toni Kroos joined Germany’s squad on Saturday, but defender Jerome Boateng, striker Miroslav Klose and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger could only complete light individual training on Sunday.

“Boateng has a muscle problem from Turkey. Miro is a bit better, but it’s touch and go for him on Tuesday. Schweinsteiger picked up a knock and is being handled,” Flick said.

Flick added that Real Madrid midfielder Mesut Oezil completed training after missing the Turkey game with an Achilles problem. “It’s looking good for him … he seems a lot better than before the Turkey game,” Flick said.

Schweinsteiger said his participation remained in doubt. “Unfortunately I don’t know if I’ll be able to play or not,” Schweinsteiger said. “I’m just a part of the team. When we play well, every player looks good. We played well in Turkey so there’s a lot of positive stuff written. But we shouldn’t get carried away.”

The 27-year-old Schweinsteiger is keen for Germany to complete qualification without dropping a point for the first time. “We want to play well from the beginning to get our 10th win and then we can be proud of what we’ve done,” Schweinsteiger said. “The first game in Belgium was key for us. It was a hard game and it was on a knife-edge until we scored. It will be even harder on Tuesday because the Belgians want to secure a playoff place.”

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer said Germany would not be giving its neighbor any presents. “Our fans will be coming to the stadium to see good football. We want to give the fans a present, and not the Belgians,” Neuer said.

“The national team has never boasted so much quality. We’re solid at every position, and that goes for the substitutes bench as well. When you win matches it makes you even stronger, and that strengthens my optimism for the near future,” he said.

Neuer, 25, pulled off some remarkable saves in Friday’s 3-1 win over Turkey, only conceding a goal due to a defensive error but playing a hand in Germany’s opening goal thanks to a long punt upfield.

Despite Germany’s spotless qualifying campaign, Neuer says Joachim Loew’s side have to stay hungry — starting with Belgium on Tuesday — if they are to be seen as a formidable force at the tournament next year.

“We don’t want to show any weaknesses, and we want to keep our qualifying run as flawless as possible,” he said. “The smallest display of weakness could have implications for us at the Euro 2012, and we can’t allow that.”

German Football
By German Football October 10, 2011 11:23
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