Germany right to pick inexperienced Confederations Cup squad - Bierhoff
Oliver Bierhoff has defended the German Football Association (DFB) for not bringing their established players to the Confederations Cup in Russia.
Asked why the DFB did not call up key players for the competition, Bierhoff told a news conference on Friday that Germany's main priority was to win next year's World Cup.
"We have a lot of players that play in the Champions League, played in the World Cup [in 2014], in the European Championship [in 2016]," he said. "Our first goal is to win the World Cup in 2018."
Joshua Kimmich and Matthias Ginter are the only members of the squad representing Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund for Germany at the tournament, while players like Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Toni Kroos, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels did not make the trip.
"We believe that you have to give space and some rest to the [established] players and also give younger players an opportunity to get playing time at an important tournament and for them to get to know themselves a little bit better," Bierhoff said.
"In the long run, we think it's better to develop these players in such tournaments."
Sandro Wagner, Lars Stindl, Kevin Trapp, Amin Younes, Kerem Demirbay, Marvin Plattenhardt and Diego Demme all made their debuts for Germany in the recent 1-1 friendly draw against Denmark and the 7-0 World Cup qualifying win against San Marino.
Bierhoff added: "We previously said that the scheduling of the Confederations Cup is a bit unfortunate. The scheduling hasn't become any better since, though the players came here full of anticipation, understanding the event as a chance.
"Getting acquainted with the procedures of a big tournament is certainly very important for us as a team."
Bierhoff, 49, who won the European Championship with Germany in 1996, is confident they will be competitive in Russia.
"We're here with players who are used to competing from a very young age," he said.
"We're here to represent German football, which is not only about 20 world champions but about players that joined us for the Euros or have the chance to play for us in the future.
"The tournament has a sporting relevance to us in which we can measure us [against other nations]. For us, the first priority is in developing the team. Winning the tournament is our second priority."
Germany kick off their Confederations Cup campaign on Monday against Australia in Sochi, and Bierhoff said. "A win against Australia is expected. But we also know that we're playing with a team that hasn't played much together. We have to take that into consideration.
"For me, it'll be almost more important to see if the team has the technical but also mental capacity to translate the coach's clear instructions onto the field."
Germany also play Chile and Cameroon during the group stage.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.