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World Cup Hangover Worries Leow

Eight months after the champagne corks popped following their World Cup triumph in Rio de Janeiro, head coach Joachim Loew has cause for concern as Germany’s Brazil 2014 hangover continues.
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Only Lukas Podolski’s 81st-minute equaliser prevented Germany suffering a shock defeat to Asian champions Australia in Kaiserslautern on Wednesday in a 2-2 friendly draw.
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Next comes Sunday’s Euro 2016 qualifier away to second-from-bottom Georgia with Germany in the unusual position of joint second in Group D, three points behind leaders Poland and level on seven with scotland and ireland.
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But what would normally be anticipated in Germany as a routine win, now looks like a challenging away tie.
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“We need to increase the tension and tackle the game there with more concentration,” insisted Loew.
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“I am always prepared to take risks in friendly games, but we can no longer do that now in qualifiers.”
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Loew knows Germany can ill afford to drop more Euro 2016 qualifying points with key matches against Poland, scotland and ireland coming up this autumn.
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After more than eight years in charge of the national side, this is the first time Germany are not dominating their qualification group for a major tournament under Loew.
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A precarious 2-1 win over Scotland last September was followed by October’s 2-0 defeat to Poland in Warsaw – Germany’s first loss to their neighbours in 19 meetings – and a draw at home to Ireland.
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The world champions then laboured when minnows Gibraltar were seen off 4-0 in Nuremberg in November, which the visitors’ coach Allen Bula, who was recently sacked, hailed as “great result” for the part-timers, who had previously been thrashed 7-0 by both Ireland and Poland.
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After Germany finishing 2014 with a 1-0 friendly win over a depleted Spain on a rain-drenched night in Vigo, Loew promised changes and significant improvements in 2015.
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But his pre-match comment that they are a long way from where they were at the World Cup was only confirmed by Germany’s performance against Australia.
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Marco Reus’ early goal was cancelled out by James Troisi’s header five minutes before the break, then Socceroos’ captain Mile Jedinak crashed in a free-kick on 50 minutes to put Australia 2-1 up before Podolski rescued the draw.

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