By Oliver Trust
BERLIN, March 16 (Xinhua) -- "Our youngsters must get the chance to do the next step. Therefore, we have to provide playing minutes to them," Joachim Loew said in advance of Germany's friendly against Serbia next Wednesday and the 2020 Euro qualifier against the Netherlands four days later.
The German coach confirmed his team's rejuvenation is a must and irreversible after the country's disappointing early group exit at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the demotion to Group B in the newly formed Nations League in 2018.
Midfielder Maximilian Eggestein (22/Werder Bremen) and the defenders Niklas Stark (23/Hertha BSC) and Lukas Klostermann (22/RB Leipzig) are new arrivals in Loew's newly formed squad.
Team captain Manuel Neuer (Bayern), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) and Matthias Ginter (Borussia Moenchengladbach) are the only remaining players from the 2014 squad having won the World Cup.
Despite the changes, Loew remains under pressure after his decision to no longer consider Bayern Munich's veteran stars Thomas Mueller, Jerome Boateng, and Mats Hummels.
Muller made 1000 appearances for Germany, scoring 38 goals. Hummels was capped 70 times (5 goals) and Boateng 76 (1 goal). The last Germany game in which Boateng, Hummels, and Muller played was the 3-0 defeat to the Netherlands in the Nations League on October 13.
"They are not banned," Loew claimed, "I told them they are not part of my plans regarding the 2020 European Championships. It was the most important thing for me to tell them eye to eye. We are extremely thankful for their achievements."
Loew remains in danger losing his job if Germany either fail to qualify for 2020 or perform weakly during the tournament and will be acutely aware that his newly-formed Germany team has to deliver satisfying results quickly.
Never before in his career as national coach Loew has been under similar pressure as in 2019. Many pundits demand the national teams' renewal should include Loew while fans seem to have lost faith in him.
Meanwhile, the German coach said changes are needed to secure future success, and painful decisions had to be made to address the requirements of modern football.
"We need to act with more determination and speed," the former striker commented. "We have to improve our game to meet international standards," he emphasized calling the German performance at the 2018 World Cup "too slow and uninspired."
Loew demanded more "cognitive training" efforts. Clubs and association have to modernize youth education.
Germany has been outpaced by other nations he complained.
The coach said competition is open including the race for the job as German number one. Loew underlined Manuel Neuer is currently "our number one, but he has to perform on a top level." He said Barcelona keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen will get the opportunity to prove his skills shortly.
Ter Stegen recently said he intends to increase the pressure on his rival. "I want to push continuously until the national coach is choosing me as the German number one," the 26-year-old commented.
Loew admitted Ter Stegen is on the same level of world class.
Neuer is under attack after his mistake allowed Liverpool striker Sadio Mane to score the 1-0 lead in the last-16 round clash of the Champions League. In a survey, 89 percent of fans voted for a change in the German goal.