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24.03.2019 Sports News

New look Germany start Euro 2020 campaign with Netherlands clash

By Paul Myers - RFI
REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw
LISTEN MAR 24, 2019
REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

Joachim Loew's decision to revamp the Germany team will undergo its first competitive test on Sunday night in Amsterdam when they play the Netherlands in their first Euro 2020 qualifier.

The hosts go into the match at the Johan Cruijff Arena on the back of a 4-0 annihilation of Belarus on 21 March.

Memphis Depay bagged a brace in the rout and there were goals too for Georginio Wijnaldum and skipper Virgil van Dijk.

The captain has fared well recently against German sides.

He scored in Liverpool's 3-1 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League earlier this month and he hit a late equaliser for the Netherlands against Germany when the countries met in Gelsenkirchen last November.

There was also a goal in the 3-0 victory over Germany in October.

"He is a fantastic in the air, not just because he is big, but because he gets so much power behind his headers," said Loew of van Dijk.

"We can't allow him space to run onto headers," added Germany defender Niklas Suele.

Germany are looking for their first victory in a meaningful match since a last gasp win over Sweden at the World Cup in Russia last summer. Despite that success, Germany, who won the title in 2014, were eliminated after the group stages. It was their worst performance at a World Cup since 1938.

There were calls for Loew's head. But he survived and instead he sacrificed World Cup-winning players Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Mueller in an attempt to rejuvenate the team. He replaced the troika's 284 combined international caps with two 22-year-olds and a 23-year-old.

The first outing of the new era resulted in a 1-1 draw with Serbia on Wednesday in Wolfsburg. The partisans were unconvinced and booed the side.

Striker Marco Reus has called on his teammates to regain the adoration of the faithful. "We need patience from the fans, but it is our job to make sure the atmosphere improves," he said.

"We are all ambitious enough to want to win every game, but it won't just start working from one day to the next," he said.

"Everything will take time, we have a lot of young players who need to find their feet."