Football

Germany benefit from Mueller and Hummels' return: Left-back Gosens

Mueller and Hummels have a 'special aura', says left-back Gosens

After a two-year exile from international football, 2014 World Cup winners Thomas Mueller and Mats Hummels are set to crank up the volume on the pitch for Germany's bid to win Euro 2020.

Die Mannschaft head into the European Championship low on confidence after a shock home defeat by North Macedonia in March, which followed a historic 6-0 thrashing by Spain last November, the Germans' heaviest defeat in more than 80 years.

On both occasions, shell-shocked faces in the stunned German ranks exposed a lack of leadership with captain Manuel Neuer helplessly watching the crisis unfold from his goal.

Germany's under-fire coach Joachim Loew, who will step down after the Euros, has reacted by reversing his 2019 decision to axe Hummels and Mueller, recalling the experienced pair to help lead on the pitch at the Euro.

"It's certainly true that Mats Hummels or myself are players who dare to speak up," said Mueller, who made his 101st international appearance last Wednesday after a two-year hiatus.

Loew is desperate to sign off after 15 years in charge by winning the European Championship to mend his reputation, tarnished by the Germans' 2018 World Cup debacle, and needs Mueller, 31, and Hummels, 32, to give his squad a boost.

As Germany left-back Robin Gosens admits: "Both have a special aura. You notice immediately that you can rely on these guys. And that feeling is enormously important for a football team."

Equally, a poll of German fans by AFP subsidiary SID showed more than 80 per cent are pleased to see Mueller and Hummels back on Germany duty.

"Radio Mueller", as he is nicknamed, was the loudest German voice on the pitch in their 1-1 draw with Denmark last Wednesday, while Hummels marshalled the German defence, but his last-gasp tackle could not stop Yussuf Poulsen's equaliser.

Explaining his role, Mueller said: "The point is to distribute information so that every player can react as quickly as possible to game situations. I am what I am.

"When I see the quality that is in the team, I want to wake up German football."

There is no way of hitting the snooze button on Mueller, who wants to fire up Germany's bid to be crowned European champions for the fourth time.

However, the Germans will have to be wide awake to survive Group F, which also comprises world champions France, holders Portugal and Hungary.

With less than two weeks before their opener against France, Loew said his side are still a work in progress.

"We have certainly taken a step forward but we still have to improve. We have done the basic work but on some issues for the next week we will continue to work to become more stable and stronger," said the 61-year-old ahead of tomorrow's final tune-up against Latvia.

Loew said he will give playing time to Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Antonio Ruediger and Ilkay Guendogan, who joined the German camp only days ago following their Champions League final exertions.

"We have to fine-tune things but we don't want to risk injuries with these players. They had a few days of rest and a lot of matches under their belt this season," he said. - AFP, REUTERS

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