Germany plodded against Poland, says Loew
Germany coach Joachim Loew lambasted his flat-footed attackers after they were held 0-0 by Poland in their Euro 2016 Group C clash.
Both sides remain on course to reach the last 16 with four points from their opening two games despite disappointing result in Paris on Thursday night.
“In the attack today we could not create too many chances, the whole of our game in the last third wasn’t fast enough,” said Loew.
“There were nine or 10 Polish players behind the ball because we didn’t play the ball quickly enough.”
Despite the stalemate, Loew defended his decision to start the misfiring Mario Goetze over his only other obvious striking option in Mario Gomez.
“Both sides were very strong defensively,” he added.
“High balls in the penalty area that is what the Polish want.
“That is why for me the strategy was clear to put Goetze in from the start to play the ball on the ground, but today we couldn’t impose our game style.”
In a game of few chances, Poland’s star striker Robert Lewandowski was well-marshalled by Bayern Munich teammates Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng – with Boateng winning man-of-the-match for his outstanding display.
Poland coach Adam Nawalka praised his star man’s teamwork despite Lewandowski not getting on the scoresheet for a second consecutive match.
No goals, big work
Nawalka believes Lewandowski’s presence is opening up more opportunities for strike partner Arkadiusz Milik.
The Ajax front man scored Poland’s winner in their opening 1-0 win over Northern Ireland and missed the best chance of the match when he skewed wide early in the second-half.
“Robert Lewandowski in every single match is incredibly important for our gameplan,” said Nawalka.
“He is working for the team even though he hasn’t scored a goal in the last match and tonight.
“He is working tremendously hard and taking a lot of attention of the defenders so that others have chances.
“Physically and technically he is at the highest level and I think that in the next matches he will play equally well as in the last two matches.”
Boateng was glad to come out on top in the battle of the two Bayern aces.
The defender was critical of Germany’s attacking play, claiming they “won’t go far” if they don’t “improve on their finishing.”
Boateng did acknowledge the efforts of his teammates further up the pitch in ensuring Poland were also restricted to few chances.
“I think like usual it is always hard to play against him (Lewandowski),” said Boateng.
“He occupied us all night, but we defended well as a team, starting with the attack and that made it easier for me.”
The final whistle was met with glee on the Polish bench having only beaten their bitter rivals once in 21 meetings in their history.
And Lewandowski admitted the Poles were the pleased to be a step closer to reaching the Euro knockout stages for the first time.
“We’re happy with the point. We showed Germany a bit too much respect in the first half,” he said.
“It’s a pity that we didn’t get the goal, but that’s football and it’s not a bad result for us.”