Joachim Low Confirms Position Change for Joshua Kimmich Ahead of Germany Internationals

Germany manager Joachim Low has confirmed that Bayern Munich defender Joshua Kimmich will play as a defensive midfielder for the national team moving forward.

The decision comes after Low experimented with his team and played Kimmich in the role last autumn, even though he plays right-back for the Bavarians in the Bundesliga. 

After their shocking exit in the 2018 World Cup finishing bottom of their group, Low was perhaps unexpectedly retained as manager of the side. However, the poor performance has resulted in changes being made to the German set up – changes which were confirmed in recent weeks by the ?national team manager.

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Regulars such as Jerome Boateng, Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels have all been ousted out from the squad indefinitely. 

As Low attempts to reinvent his Germany squad, Kimmich’s absence at right-back will mean an opportunity for other, more natural full-backs to start for Die Mannschaft

RB Leipzig’s Lukas Klostermann, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Matthias Ginter and Paris Saint-Germain’s Thilo Kehrer look set to compete for a starting spot in the national side. 

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What is certainly evident for Germany is the way Joachim Low is giving them a fresh start after the World Cup disaster. The competition at right-back between young players signifies the way the experienced manager is changing the system. Other promising players who have been included in the squad include Bayer Leverkusen duo Kai Havertz and Julian Brandt.

Germany host a friendly against Serbia before their testing trip to a reinvigorated Netherlands side which is a European Championship Qualifying match. 

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Antoine Griezmann: 6 Elite Clubs Who Must Sign the Forward if He Leaves Atletico Madrid This Summer

Antoine Griezmann reportedly wants to leave Atletico Madrid this summer, less than a year after famously deciding to stay put last June.

A player of his quality, who has scored at least 25 goals in each of the last four full seasons, won the World Cup and twice finished third in the Ballon d’Or will have no shortage of suitors if he really is about to become available on the transfer market.

Here’s a look at six top teams who must try and sign him…


?Internazionale

Mauro Icardi

Depending on what happens with Mauro Icardi, who has been stripped of the club captaincy and hasn’t played since early February because of a contentious knee injury, Inter could find themselves needing a new attacking talisman ahead of next season.

Selling Icardi would raise significant funds and with Inter set to improve to third in Serie A and seemingly on an upward trajectory, it may be a project worth considering for Griezmann.


Bayern Munich

Robert Lewandowski,Arjen Robben,Franck Ribery

Bayern Munich will bid farewell to veteran heroes Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery at the end of the season, with James Rodriguez not tipped to stay beyond his loan deal. It means there will be a serious need for fresh attacking impetus at the Allianz Arena.

Griezmann could be the perfect summer addition for a club that has had a wakeup call, both at home and abroad, this season, potentially ushering in a new era of success.


Paris Saint-Germain

Red Star Belgrade v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Group C

Paris Saint-Germain could well look to Griezmann in the event that they lose Neymar this summer, with the Brazilian superstar a reported €350m world record target for Real Madrid.

Should that actually happen, PSG would need a replacement and would have the money to make it happen. Griezmann, who has never played professionally in his home country, could also be the more reliable Champions League X-factor the club has long been waiting for.


Barcelona

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Barcelona were infamously snubbed by Griezmann last summer when he made ‘The Decision’ to stay with Atletico. Reports suggest that the Catalans, who were made to look foolish by the whole saga, won’t entertain going back in for him, but perhaps they can’t afford not to.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez continue to score the bulk of Barça’s goals and it won’t last forever, with the former due to turn 32 years of age in June and latter already there. The attacking unit at Camp Nou therefore needs an injection of slightly younger blood.


Manchester United

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Manchester United wanted Griezmann in 2017 before he pledged himself to Atletico in light of their transfer ban. That interest has never really picked up again since, but the failure of Alexis Sanchez at Old Trafford is reason to think the club would still have a need.

As a second striker, Griezmann could prove to be the creative link player that United have been lacking, while his personal friendship with Paul Pogba is already a big plus point.


Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid will find it hard to sign number one target Neymar this summer. If that ambitious venture fails, then they too could become one of the clubs interested in Griezmann.

Real are set to make numerous changes at the end of the season after a disastrous 2018/19 campaign and could do a lot worse than focus on a player who is already a proven goalscorer in La Liga and at the highest level in Europe.


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Bayern Munich Race Ahead of Arsenal in Race to Sign Prolific Lille Striker Nicolas Pepe

?Bayern Munich appear to be close to securing the signing of Lille striker Nicolas Pepe, according to recent reports.

Pepe has been in sublime form for Lille so far this season, registering 18 goals and 11 assists in all competitions and, as a result, has become a top transfer target for a host of sides across Europe. 

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It was reported that ?Bayern Munich had ?’opened talks’ with Lille last week and now, according to ?Sport, it appears that the Bavarians are drawing closer to confirming the signing.

Bayern delegate Laurent Busser has been watching Pepe live over the past few months but, as Lille look set to qualify for the Champions League, his transfer value is only likely to increase over the coming months – which could pose an issue for Bayern.

As a result, Sport claim that Bayern are looking to secure a deal as soon as possible to prevent Lille from continually raising the Ivorian’s transfer value and because the likes of ?Barcelona and Arsenal are also monitoring his progress.

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beIN Sports journalist ?Bel-Abbès Bouaissi has also claimed that Bayern have already submitted a huge transfer offer for Pepe in the region of 80m, adding that adidas also have a hand in the transaction.

Speaking about his future whilst on international duty with the Ivory Coast, Pepe has insisted that he is unsure of what the immediate future holds and that he is currently focused on finishing the season strongly with Lille.


“My representatives take care of my future, I am focused on Lille for the rest of the season,” Pepe told Canal, per Football Espana.

“My future league? I do not have a preference.”

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Germany vs Serbia Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Germany host Serbia in an international friendly at Volkswagen Arena on Wednesday night as both sides prepare for their respective Euro 2020 qualifying matches.

The home team will travel to the Netherlands for their first clash on Sunday, whilst the Serbs face Portugal on Monday evening in Group B. Both managers will be using the midweek friendly as an opportunity to try out new players and tactics before they begin their respective qualifying campaigns.

Serbia v Montenegro - UEFA Nations League C

Joachim Löw’s men are still reeling from their World Cup nightmare and have yet to regain their once-scintillating form since returning from the tournament. In contrasting fashion, their opponents have been unbeaten since their exploits in Russia, a 2-0 defeat to Brazil in the group stages being their last loss.

Here is all you need to know ahead of the encounter in Wolfsburg.


Where to Watch

?When is Kick Off? ?Wednesday 20 March
What Time is Kick Off?? ?19:45 (GMT)
?Where is it Played? ?Volkswagen Arena
?TV Channel/Live Stream? ?Sky Sports 1
?Referee? ?Robert Madden

Team News

Löw made headlines at the start of the month with his announcement that Bayern Munich stalwarts Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng would no longer be considered for selection.

Cologne defender Jonas Hector, Schalke midfielder Sebastian Rudy and Borussia Dortmund playmaker Mario Gotze have suffered a similar fate after also being omitted from the coach’s most recent squad. Paris Saint-Germain’s Julian Draxler is unavailable due to injury.

Defensive duo Niklas Stark and Lukas Klostermann have received their first senior call ups, as has Werder Bremen midfielder Maximilian Eggestein, after the youngsters managed to impress in the Under-21 setup.

Aleksandar Kolarov has recovered from a knock to be named as Serbia’s captain for this week’s international match-ups. Official leadership roles have also been handed to Ajax’s Dušan Tadi? and Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic.

Fulham hitman Mitrovi? is once again selected as he looks to continue his rich vein of form for the Balkan side. Highly-rated Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovi?-Savi? is also in the squad, with the 24-year-old having enjoyed a superb season in Serie A.


Predicted Lineups

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Germany? ?Ter Stegen; Kehrer, Ginter, Süle, Rudiger, Schulz; Kimmich, Kroos; Gnabry, Sane, Werner
?Serbia ?Rajkovi?; Rukavina, Milenkovi?, Veljkovi?, Kolarov; Milinkovi?-Savi?, Mati?, Luki?; Tadi?, Ljaji?, Mitrovi?.

Head to Head Record

This is just the third meeting between Germany and Serbia, with the record currently reading one victory apiece. 

In their last encounter it was the Serbians who emerged victorious, shocking their opponents 1-0 in the group stages of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Then-Liverpool forward Milan Jovanovi? grabbed the only goal of the game, beating Manuel Neuer close to half time.

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That breakthrough came moments after Germany’s talismanic striker Miroslav Klose had been sent off for a dangerous lunge in what was a decidedly forgettable match for the favourites. Lukas Podolski also missed a penalty that day, compounding an awful showing from the Germans.

Two years prior they had won 2-1 in an international friendly at the Veltins Arena, with a late winner from Michael Ballack seeing his side home.


Recent Form

Germany have failed to move out of the shadow cast by their shambolic World Cup exit, continuing to struggle under intense scrutiny and criticism. Repeating their summer failure, the 2014 world champions came bottom of their UEFA Nations League pool over the autumn, unable to claim a single win.

They conceded twice late on to the Netherlands to forfeit a two-goal lead in their last match, ultimately drawing the game 2-2. That result followed up damaging defeats to the same opponents and France, completing a torrid 2018 for the nation.

A slim victory over Peru and a 3-0 drubbing of Russia – both of which were friendlies – are their only successes in recent fixtures, a record they must improve upon with critical qualifying matches to come.

Virgil van Dijk

The Eagles have fared much better of late, topping their Nations League group and seeing out the rest of the calendar year without a loss. However, they were competing in the third tier of the new tournament.

Nevertheless, triumphs over Lithuania and Montenegro, and a pair of draws against Romania, have left the Serbian camp in a buoyant mood. Their defence was impressive during that spell, as Mladen Krstaji?’s team conceded just four goals across the six games.

Striker ?Aleksandar Mitrovi? stood out in those matches, netting six times to take his tally of international goals to 23.

Here’s how the two sides fared in their last five fixtures:

?Germany Serbia?
?Germany 2-2 Netherlands (19/11) ?Serbia 4-1 Lithuania (20/11)
?Germany 3-0 Russia (15/11) ?Serbia 2-1 Montenegro (17/11)
?France 2-1 Germany (16/10) ?Romania 0-0 Serbia (14/10)
?Netherlands 3-0 Germany (13/10) ?Montenegro 0-2 Serbia (11/10)
?Germany 2-1 Peru (09/9) ?Serbia 2-2 Romania (10/09)

?Prediction

?German football has endured one of its darkest periods in the last 12 months. The national side recorded their worst ever World Cup performance, whilst this week confirmed that the ?Bundesliga will have no representatives in the ?Champions League quarter-finals.

The visitors will look to take advantage of Germany’s low confidence, viewing this fixture as an excellent opportunity to claim a scalp. Pressure will certainly be on the hosts and they could wilt in a suffocating atmosphere.

Serbia v Montenegro - UEFA Nations League C

Recent displays suggest that an upset could be on at the Volkswagen Arena, with this being a period of transition for the Germans. Don’t be surprised to see Krstaji?’s side claim a famous victory.

Prediction: Germany 0-1 Serbia

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Niko Kovac Responds With Irritation to Question on His Future After Bayern Smash Mainz

?Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac was delighted by the way his team bounced back to beat Mainz 6-0 at the Allianz Arena on Sunday, after a difficult week for the club.

The Bavarians were knocked out of the Champions League on Wednesday by Liverpool after a disappointing 3-1 home defeat, and the Croatian was criticised by star striker Robert Lewandowski for being too defensive in the tie.

Kingsley Coman,Joshua Kimmich,Robert Lewandowski,Thomas Mueller,James Rodriguez

But ?Bayern moved back to the top of the Bundesliga, thanks in part to a superb James Rodriguez hat-trick in their latest league outing. It’s a result which should relive some of the mounting pressure on Kovac.

“A compliment to the lads. We’re pleased we’re at the top again. We saw a lot of zest today, a whole lot of verve, very many good moves,” Kovac told the ?club’s official website

“Taken altogether it was a deserved win and the right margin of victory. Now we can work calmly and with focus in the two-week international break.”


The 47-year-old added: “That was very important today. We played a great game and deserved to win. It’s not always Liverpool, today it was Mainz. Compliments to my players”.

?Rodriguez’s hat-trick was the highlight of a game which also saw Lewandowski score his 30th of the season, before Kingsley Koman and Alphonso Davies complete the scoring for the hosts. That was 18-year-old Davies’ first goal for the club.

David Alaba

Kovac was then visibly irritated by a question regarding his future in the post-match press conference, with Sky Sport.De stating the reporter has claimed his critics suggest that the former Croatia boss isn’t the right man to lead the German champions back to European glory.

He replied: “Strong question, nothing at all, you’ll probably be right.”

Having won the league by 22 points last season, Kovac has faced immense scrutiny this season as his side have only recently overtaken Borussia Dortmund on goal difference after a difficult season at the Allianz Arena.

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