Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff says the national team needs to gel following the 2014 World Cup win, but rules out a comeback from Bayern Munich’s Philipp Lahm for Euro 2016.
Bierhoff told dpa he had spoken to Lahm recently and did not get the feeling the former Germany captain was considering coming out of international retirement.
“Anyone who knows Philipp, has read his comments or has spoken to him personally knows that can be ruled out. We should respect that,” Bierhoff said in an interview.
Lahm, 32, retired from the national team after Germany won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The final against Argentina in Rio de Janeiro was his 113th appearance for Germany. Lahm has indicated he will retire from football when his contract at Bayern expiries in June 2018.
Loew has to yet find an adequate replacement for full-back Lahm, and Bierhoff said the team with new players coming into the squad “has to grow together again” following the World Cup win.
“We lost three pillars after the World Cup, Lahm, (Per) Mertesacker and (Miroslav) Klose. We have other players taking on responsibility:
(Manuel) Neuer, (Jerome) Boateng, (Sami) Khedira, (Mats) Hummels, (Thomas) Mueller, (Bastian) Schweinsteiger,” he said.
“In addition there are players such as Ilkay Guendogan and Toni Kroos, who have already achieved a lot internationally and with their clubs.
“In the last year and a half, as a result of the many injuries we had, this framework could not be stabilised, which is why the preparations for Euro 2016 will be very important.”
Germany is facing a “mammoth programme” with Euro 2016, the 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup, but Euopean champions and 2010 world champions Spain could be a model.
“The Spanish managed over a long period from 2008 to 2012 to keep their quality high and to confirm it,” Bierhoff said.
“We have to reckon with injuries and mental tiredness, but I don’t see any point in moaning. We are fighting to win titles. We want to measure ourselves against the best and aim high, which is why it is good to be at a Confederations Cup a year before a World Cup.
“Tournaments like these give you the opportunity to bring young players on internationally.”
Bierhoff says Germany and Spain will be among the top favourites at Euro 2016, along with hosts France.
“The home advantage can overwhelm you but usually it has a galvanizing effect. We think France could be very strong,” he said.
Former Germany striker and national team captain Bierhoff, 47, was appointed team manager in 2004 and has a contract until 2020, two years after Loew’s contract ends.
Along with the role of team manager he is also charge of the German football federation’s academy project, part of a new headquarters for the DFB in Frankfurt.
On his future he says he realizes he won’t be with the DFB for ever.
“I have always worked in certain periods of time, also as a player. My horizon stretches at the moment until the 2018 World Cup and the completion of the academy,” he said.
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