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Germany’s young guns eye starting spots

Sane says he wants to 'put some pressure on' Die Mannschaft's old guard

With Germany struggling for form this year, Leroy Sane, 22, believes tomorrow morning's (Singapore time) friendly against Russia could be a chance for young guns like himself, Julian Brandt, 22, Leon Goretzka, 23, and Thilo Kehrer, 22, to stake claims for starting spots.

Die Mannschaft have lost more games in a calendar year than ever before, having been beaten six times in 2018.

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They are in danger of being relegated from the top tier of the Uefa Nations League if they don't beat Holland in the League A, Group 1 clash at the Veltins-Arena next Tuesday.

Germany could be relegated even before that, should the Dutch beat group leaders France on Saturday.

But Germany coach Joachim Loew remains confident, saying his team are primed to do well at Euro 2020.

He told the German football association's website: "The potential of our younger players, who still need to develop more, is the key thing we have to press forward with.

"However, these young players require guidance and this comes from the more experienced players. With this combination, we will become a powerful team to face."

One of those young players is Sane, who believe his generation are ready to "put some pressure on" Germany's old guard.

The Manchester City forward said: "You could see well before now that young players started to get some minutes. Jogi Loew has always done that, included the youngsters.

"Against Russia, we're ready to prove ourselves and put some pressure on."

One of the senior players who is under severe scrutiny is captain Manuel Neuer, who conceded three times against Borussia Dortmund last weekend.

Opta tweeted during the match that the 32-year-old had conceded the last eight shots on target that he had faced in the Bundesliga.

Loew was criticised during the World Cup in June for making Neuer his No. 1 despite him playing only a handful of games last season due to injury.

On the continued criticism he has been facing, the Bayern Munich custodian said: "That's old stuff, nothing new.

"I'm in good shape. I had a good match against Dortmund. I'm confident... We want to finish the year, which was not good for us, on a high note and win both matches. We're optimistic that we can perform well in both matches. Against Holland, we want to win, for sure."

Another player who has been subject to criticism is his Bayern teammate Jerome Boateng.

The centre-back was left out of Loew's squad, with the Germany coach saying: "I have spoken to him and I'm convinced he could do with a good break. I told him I have several options for his position with many good young players coming through.

"I don't want to just dump the 2014 generation but it is now time for further changes.

"The team need pepping up and it's my job to do that."

Germany's most capped player Lothar Matthaeus believes this could be the end of the World Cup-winning defender's international career.

He wrote in his column for Sky Germany: "It could well be that this is a very long break for Jerome Boateng in the German national team, as long as Loew is in charge.

"That's because of several factors. First, of course, the sporting achievements of the last few months. I can imagine that the national coach did not like that Jerome left injured after the 3-0 defeat in Holland last month, and then completed a full training session at Bayern on the day of the France match a few days later."

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