BERLIN (AFP) – After the glamour of their evening on the red-carpet, world champions Germany get back to the business of turning around their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign against minnows Gibraltar on Friday.
Memories of Germany’s World Cup win were rekindled when Joachim Loew’s squad received an award from president Joachim Gauck for their triumph before Monday’s gala premiere of ‘Die Mannschaft’ – the documentary behind the campaign.
“Germany deserved the title, because they were the only team who always attacked,” said FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who before the screening presented the squad with the World Cup winners badge to be worn on their shirts for the next four years.
“If Germany are world champions again in 2018, we won’t have to change much on the badge, so it’ll be a bit cheaper for us,” joked Blatter during the ceremony.
But a look at Germany’s Euro 2016 qualifying group table is no laughing matter for the football-mad nation with their team third after last month’s shock defeat 2-0 to Poland and 1-1 draw with Ireland after conceding a late equaliser.
The results left Germany in the unusual situation of languishing three points behind leaders Poland with the Irish second.
Germany are without injured Dortmund winger Marco Reus with an ankle injury while a knee injury means captain Bastian Schweinsteiger only trained with Bayern Munich for the first time on Tuesday since playing in the World Cup final.
“It’s annoying to be without Marco, he’s in good form, while Bastian took responsibility during the World Cup and is very important for us,” said Bierhoff.
“But it’s important to think long-term and for those injured players to refind their rhythm.
“We have the quality to beat Gibraltar and to face Spain.
“We have the badge (as world champions) and that carries an honour, but also a duty and a certain level of performance.
“We had three players retire after the World Cup (Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose and Per Mertesacker) and in juries in key positions, losing important figures, but we have to overcome that.”