Klinsmann goes on attack in Confederations test
14 June 2005, FRANKFURT - Hosts Germany are out for a good start into their Confederations Cup campaign on Wednesday against Australia, with the ultimate goal of winning the tournament.
14 June 2005
FRANKFURT - Hosts Germany are out for a good start into their Confederations Cup campaign on Wednesday against Australia, with the ultimate goal of winning the tournament.
But just as the finishing touches were put on the Frandkfurt Waldstadion venue, Juergen Klinsmann's team has some infrastructure not quite in place ahead of the group A match - the defence.
"The defence gives little hope. The problem is that we are missing someone who can hold things together. The defence is too young, has too little experience," said national icon Franz Beckenbauer.
Klinsmann has blooded two novices in Per Mertesacker and Robert Huth in central defence, has another newcomer, Thomas Hitzlsperger, playing at left-back, while shortages on the right has also seen midfielder Bernd Schneider at times filling the role.
With the veteran Christian Woerns rested for the tournament and other key players injured, Klinsmann has little real alternatives.
Training in Frankfurt has concentrated on defensive work but at the same time Klinsmann is playing down the issue.
"Franz can give good advice. We know that there is a lot of discussion about our defence, but it is not our problem child," Klinsmann said.
"The defensive work starts with the forwards. The whole team must act in a better way."
The defensive problems will not make Klinsmann change his tactics, although the attacking Bayern Munich midfielder Sebastian Deisler may have to start on the substitutes' bench with Bernd Schneider favoured in a midfield led by captain Michael Ballack.
Up front, the choice is between Schalke forward Gerald Asamoah or Cologne youngster Lukas Podolski to partner Kevin Kuranyi.
The match is the first competitive international after almost a year of friendlies for Germany since their first-round exit at Euro 2004. In 11 friendly matches since then the Klinsmann team has won seven and lost just one, away against South Korea late last year.
Germany's other group games are against two-time World Cup winners Argentina and Tunisia. The Confederations Cup was formerly snubbed by Germany, but is now taken very seriously as the only major test ahead of the 2006 home World Cup.
"There is a lot of prestige involved. This is an international trophy that players can celebrate winning," Klinsmann said.
Australia have played Germany just once before, when they lost 3-0 to hosts West Germany in the 1974 World Cup finals.
The Confederations Cup is a welcome opportunity for the experienced Socceroos to measure themselves against the likes of Germany and Argentina, even though Liverpool forward Harry Kewell and the Parma duo Marco Bresciano and Vince Grella are missing.
"If we do well in this tournament then we could influence a great new generation of footballers in Australia. That's a huge incentive for our team," said their Everton midfielder Tim Cahill.
Much-travelled striker David Zdrilic, one of several Australian players with experience of the German Bundesliga, said that Germany's central defence can be exploited.
"This could be to our advantage because our forwards are fast and we have midfielders who are also dangerous going forward," he said.
Subject: German news