Die Mannschaft began their practice session on Saturday with an oddly long speech from Joachim Löw. Despite their disappointing relegation in the Nations League, the coach wants to make sure that the players and the staff understand the importance of the upcoming match against the Netherlands on Monday.
Oliver Bierhoff, business manager of the national team, believes that the team wouldn’t ease off against the Dutch because of the relegation. If the Germans emerge victorious in Gelsenkirchen, it would help them have a good foundation to build upon for the Euro qualifications (Kicker). Bierhoff said,
The relegation is definitely not the end of the world. Relegation changes nothing about how we approach this game. First of all, it’s a duel for prestige. Second, we want to continue to make progress on our development. And third, with a win, we want to give ourselves a good basis for the Euro qualifications.
2018 was indeed a bad year for the Germans due to their early exit from the World Cup and the following disappointment in the Nations League. But as people say, failures are always necessary to help one to rise up stronger. Bierhoff looked at Germany’s dismal showing as an opportunity:
That (relegation) capped off the bad year we had yet again. Perhaps it’s necessary to hit bottom like this, so that we can really tackle the climb back up. We’re starting again from scratch. The relegation perhaps makes us more aware of the fact that we have to approach the qualifications for the Euro 2020 next year accordingly.
Germany with something to play for after all: looking ahead to Euro 2020
UEFA will rank the 55 nations in the qualification for the Euro 2020 on Wednesday; the ranking will be based entirely on the teams’ performance in the Nations League. The top teams in each of the ten qualifying groups will be the teams ranking from 1 to 10 in League A. That gives Germany something to play for.
Currently, Germany — with a goal difference of -4 — is ranked 11th in League A of the Nations League behind Poland (GD -2). Both Poland and Germany have only a single point tuhs far. Iceland is the only team behind Germany, with 0 points from 4 matches. Since the top teams for the Euro qualifying groups will be chosen from top 10 League A teams, Germany could jump Poland with at least a draw against the Netherlands, securing a place as the top team in one of the ten qualifying groups.