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Germany in safe hands with Low's next generation

Germany in safe hands with Low's next generation

On the eve of Germany's Confederations Cup opener against Australia in Sochi, World Cup-winning coach Joachim Low brimmed with enthusiasm.

After a decade in the job, the 57-year-old has seen it all and achieved the ultimate, and yet, he was seemingly raring to tackle what some might view as the mundanities of his profession.

"Tomorrow I will have to coach them," Low said. "Even during half-time but it is going to be up to the players to put it into practice."

The players in question, a young and experimental Germany squad lacking a cluster of star names, have attracted no shortage of scrutiny in the build up to this tournament. Would they do the tag of world champions a disservice?

Those in attendance at Sochi's Fisht Stadium – there was predictably plenty of room – were treated to an emphatic answer in a 3-2 Group B win that flattered the Asian Cup holders.

Goalkeeper Bernd Leno, taking his turn to deputise for the injured Manuel Neuer, underlined his pre-match claims of butterflies in the stomach by making a pair of slack passes to centre-backs Shkodran Mustafi and Antonio Rudiger in the early exchanges. It would get much worse for the Bayer Leverkusen man, but Germany did little else wrong in the opening half hour.

The opener came in the fifth minute and began a familiar theme of Australia's left wing-back Aziz Behich being cruelly exposed. Julian Brandt tore down the flank and cut back for Lars Stindl to sweep home amid a preposterous lack of marking.

Low credited the work of Germany's academy systems for furnishing him with young players at a high technical level and observed they had taken tactical concepts on board "very quickly".

This was certainly not bluster, with Germany's easy switching of midfield positions leaving Australia beguiled and baffled.

While Brandt lingered on the right touchline with bad intentions, captain Julian Draxler was allowed to liberally roam from his nominal left-wing berth.

Jonas Hector pushed up from left-back and, with Bayern Munich-bound Sebastian Rudy anchoring the midfield, Draxler and Schalke's Leon Goretzka roamed to unpick the Socceroos repeatedly, with Stindl's well-timed runs a constant threat.

Only wasteful finishing from Sandro Wagner prevented Germany from being out of sight by the time they overplayed their hand, with Brandt dropping to right-back and Joshua Kimmich pushing into midfield before Tom Rogic drove a shot through Leno.

Seemingly offended at having squandered the lead, Goretzka promptly won a penalty, with Draxler sending Mathew Ryan the wrong way from 12 yards.

Low challenged Draxler and Kimmich to become world-class players beforehand and both welcomed the arrival of that particular gauntlet.

Bayern's Kimmich looked every inch Philipp Lahm's heir for club and country, his clipped left-footed pass that allowed Goretzka to join Stindl in netting a maiden international goal one of countless delightful contributions.

Leno, performing with all the poise of a man standing on the Sochi Olympic bobsleigh track, allowed Tomi Juric to reduce the arrears once more, but that should not derail Low's enthusiasm.

He was at Jurgen Klinsmann's side when they rebuilt Germany's confidence via a semi-final showing on home soil at the 2006 World Cup. That was the start of the cycle that brought glory in Brazil, but felt a touch stale as Die Mannschaft spluttered frustratingly short of top form at Euro 2016.

Low rightly recognises another vibrant, talented and intelligent German generation with boundless possibilities ahead of them. Why on earth wouldn't he be excited?