Germany's head coach Joachim Loew (right) conducts a training session ahead of the Confederations Cup recently. pic/AFP
Sochi (Russia): World champions Germany head to the Confederations Cup with coach Joachim Loew looking to nurture his next generation of stars after leaving his top names at home. With a year to go before the World Cup, Loew has given a host of key players the summer off and picked seven newcomers in his squad for Russia, which has a combined total of just 104 international appearances.
Missing the likes of Thomas Mueller, Manuel Neuer, Mario Gomez and Jerome Boateng, Germany face Australia in Sochi on Monday, with Chile and Cameroon to follow in Group B. Rather than targeting a place in the St Petersburg final on July 2, Loew is thinking 12 months ahead. "The 2018 World Cup, and winning the title again, that is the vision," said the 57-year-old, who has been Germany's head coach since 2006 and steered his country to the 2014 World Cup title.
"A mission on the way is participating at the Confederation Cup with the goal that three or four players will be able to put pressure on our established stars, when it comes to 2018. We want to lift players to a new level -- achieving that is what matters to me. I already know I have 12, 13 World Cup winners with a lot of experience and class, but they need competition for their places," he added