Düsseldorf (Germany) (AFP) – Joshua Kimmich says Germany hope to seduce home fans with “sexy football” to brush Belarus aside on Saturday, in an attempt to boost both flagging attendance figures and their bid to qualify for the Euro 2020 finals.
Fan interest has never been so low since Joachim Loew took charge of Germany in 2006, with average attendances for home internationals dropping to a paltry 37,162 and only two thirds of the tickets for both remaining home qualifiers sold so far.
An emphatic win over Belarus in Moenchengladbach could help win back any fans still disgruntled by their woeful 2018 World Cup campaign when Germany came last in their group.
“First and foremost, we are responsible for getting people into the stadium whether we play sexy football or not,” said midfielder Kimmich in Duesseldorf.
“We have to make sure that everyone who stays at home regrets it a bit.”
With two qualifiers left, European powerhouses the Netherlands, who face Northern Ireland in Belfast on Saturday, and Germany are level at the top of Group C on 15 points with the top two teams progressing.
So far, the Dutch and Germans have only lost to each other, with Germany’s 3-2 win in Amsterdam last March avenged when the Oranje enjoyed a 4-2 victory in Hamburg in September.
The Germans will claim their Euro finals berth on Saturday with a win provided the Dutch don’t lose in Belfast, and Loew’s squad will be eager to avoid having to win their final qualifier against Northern Ireland in Frankfurt on Tuesday.
Striker Timo Werner is currently Germany’s best source of goals with the RB Leipzig striker having netted 11 goals in as many Bundesliga games this season.
“He’s on a sensational run,” acknowledged Kimmich, who added the Germans have targeted “six points” from their last two qualifiers.
Werner netted his 11th goal in 28 appearances for Germany last month when they beat Estonia 3-0 with 10-men in Tallinn after defender Emre Can was sent off with just 14 minutes gone.
After grinding out a 2-0 win in Belarus in June, Werner warned “you can’t expect us to win 5-0 or 6-0”.
With Can suspended and Niklas Suele injured, Loew will need to reshuffle his defence, but there is a fight for midfield places behind Werner.
Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who scored twice against Estonia, is vying with Bayern Munich’s Kimmich and Real Madrid star Toni Kroos for a central midfield slot.
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