Atletico Madrid
Leg 1
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FC Salzburg
Leg 1
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St. Kitts and Nevis
12:00 AM UTC Apr 27, 2018
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 By Kevin Palmer

Germans tired from World Cup run

FIFA should stage the World Cup finals earlier in the summer, according to Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman admitted his German players, who competed in Brazil, may struggle to find motivation after their national team heroics this summer.

Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski have been given extended leave with Wenger suggesting the game's authorities are not being fair to clubs with the scheduling of the tournament.

"The distance between the final of the World Cup and the start of the domestic championships is too small," said Wenger. "They should have played it earlier, this is clear.

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"FIFA say that you have to give four weeks holiday to the players before the World Cup and then they organise the final for July 13th. It means the players cannot have a good break before they return with their clubs.

"In France, they start their league championship this weekend. So if you want to give four weeks holiday to the players, they won't even be playing when the league starts. It is not right for the clubs."

Wenger also suspects he will have some trouble reigniting the ambitions of Ozil, Mertesacker and Podolski when they return to their club tomorrow. His experience dealing with the 1998 French World Cup winners Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira is preparing him for what he can expect with his German players.

Ozil didn't impress against Brazil, not that it really mattered.
Mesut Ozil is one-of-three Arsenal players that played on Germany's World Cup-winning squad in Brazil.

"I remember it was difficult for them after winning the World Cup," he added, reflecting on his experience of 16 years when Vieira and Petit were among the stars of France's glory on their home soil.

"Suddenly, these guys were super heroes in France and then you come back three weeks later and say: 'Come on, my friend, now we have to fight.' They think -- but don't say it -- 'leave me alone a little bit'. That's only natural.

"When will our German players be ready? I don't know. They have a fitness programme to work to and it may be quick for them, but you have to give them time."


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