SOCHI, Russia: Joachim Loew remains wary of the threat posed by Cameroon as the Germany coach bids to maintain his decade-long record of reaching the semi-finals at major tournaments in the Confederations Cup on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
The world champions take on Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions at Sochi’s Fisht Stadium while Chile play Australia in Moscow in the final round of Group B games.
Germany needs a point to progress while the African champions must win by two clear goals to stay in the tournament.
“The game against Cameroon is no formality. They have nothing to lose,” warned Loew.
Since Loew took charge as head coach after Germany finished third at the 2006 World Cup on home soil, the team has always reached the semi-finals at either European championships or World Cup finals.
Germany are second to Chile in the table by a single goal with both teams on four points while Cameroon and Australia have a point each.
Loew revealed in Saturday’s press conference there is a question mark over Liverpool midfielder Emre Can, who rolled an ankle in training, although center-back Antonio Ruediger will start.
“I won’t use the same team we had against Chile, those who play will have earned their chances,” he explained.
“It won’t be seven or eight changes, that would do the players no good.
“However, players like Jonas Hector or Julian Draxler could do with a break, so I can imagine making five or six changes.”
A year before the World Cup, Loew took the gamble of leaving all of his World Cup-winning stars at home to blood fringe players.
The move has paid off with forward Lars Stindl scoring in both Monday’s 3-2 win over Australia and Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Chile leaving him as the Confed Cup’s top-scorer.
Loew’s young side has so far been convincing in Russia.
They dominated Australia for the first hour in Sochi, then weathered a Socceroos fight back, while in Kazan against Chile they showed guts in fighting back after conceding an early goal.
Loew opted to make no changes against Chile — the first time a German coach has done that in an international since 1995 — saying he wanted his team to “tough it out”.
With first-choice shot-stopper Manuel Neuer recovering from foot surgery, Loew says he may well rotate his goalkeeper with Paris Saint-Germain’s Kevin Trapp expected to start.
Germany has won two of their three previous meetings with Cameroon and there was a 2-2 draw when the teams last met in a pre-World Cup friendly in 2014.
Cameroon coach Hugo Broos fielded the same starting line-up for both their opening 2-0 defeat to Chile and Thursday’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Australia.
The Belgian is expected to call up the same again against the world champions.