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Thursday, October 18, 2012
Mertesacker: We can't park the bus

Stephan Uersfeld, Germany Correspondent

Germany defender Per Mertesacker says his team is "not very good at parking the bus" after they threw away a 4-0 lead to draw 4-4 with Sweden in Berlin on Tuesday.

As the German media struggled to come to terms with the dramatic turnaround in the World Cup qualifier, Arsenal defender Mertesacker told kicker: "To park the bus after conceding one or two goals... we are not very good at it right now."

Sweden's four-goal revival means Joachim Low's team have now conceded 22 goals in 13 matches this calendar year - their worst record since 1964.

It has also led to renewed criticism of national coach Low, with some pundits claiming he concentrates too much on fluent, attacking football and not enough on the defensive side of the game.

In a comment piece, kicker said Low lacked tactical flexibility, adding: "The German team is not able to react. Nothing has changed since Euro 2012.

"All-out attacking and aesthetically pleasing football, as taught by Joachim Low, is an idealistic approach and has to be cherished. But defence is also part of the game."

The collapse at the Olympiastadion has also reignited debate about mental strength in the Germany ranks, and former international Jurgen Kohler told kicker: "We constantly hear we have the best footballers ever.

"This might be the case, but I can't hear it any more. It is a fact we have won nothing. Consistency over 90 minutes, that's the point, and the team does not show it.

"And then they say: 'It's still a young team.' Hello? We have got two Real players, two Arsenal players and eight or nine with Germany's top clubs. They all play in the Champions League, yet they are inexperienced? We should forget about that.

"All of us - fans, critics and media - must stop celebrating unimportant wins. Only titles count."

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