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Feb 4, 2013

Low: It's style, not graft, for Germany

Germany coach Joachim Low has told French newspaper Le Parisien that his team's days of dominating world football with work-rate and efficiency belong in the past.

Since taking over from Jurgen Klinsmann in 2006, Low, 53, has built on his predecessor's work to make Germany not only one of the world most's successful teams but also one of the most watchable.

He has steered a team based around sublimely talented players such as Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Lukas Podolski to at least the semi-finals of the last three major international tournaments, including finishing runners-up to Spain at Euro 2008.

Although they have yet to add to the trophies picked up by previous generations, they have been getting plaudits for their play - something he cherishes.

"Today, you can no longer win titles by playing badly. You have to beat your opponent with a well-structured and thought-out way of playing," Low, who will employ those methods against France in a friendly in Paris on Wednesday, said.

"I'm delighted that we've beaten the Netherlands, Argentina and England with a spectacular style of playing, and not just because we were better at tackling. That's the past. We wanted to change the culture of the German national team. We've managed to do that. Now we want to win the World Cup playing attractive football."

Germany top Group C having scored 15 times already in their opening four qualifiers, including a breathtaking 4-4 draw with Sweden. Though his team squandered a 4-0 lead in that encounter, Low believes that scenario fitted his vision of what he wants to achieve in football.

"You can play badly and win one or two times, but it never lasts," he explained. "What I like most after a game is being able to say that we played better than our opponents.

"My philosophy was clear from the start: there is no question we will just launch the ball upfield and hope a goal comes from nothing. Titles are all well and good, everyone wants to win, but you also have to leave a legacy in terms of how you play. People have to be able to say: 'This team is great,' even if it loses. It's essential to provoke emotions and that people remember you in years to come."

Low's mindset is in harmony with that of Pep Guardiola, who took Barcelona to the summit of club football with a positive playing style.

The Spaniard will take charge of Germany's most emblematic club, Bayern Munich, next summer and, though Low welcomes his arrival, he is not certain that Guardiola will manage to employ his philosophy in Bayern's unique environment.

"I see [his arrival] as a sign of recognition for the Bundesliga," he said. "We're all delighted he's coming. He's going to try and establish his ideas, his clear philosophy, which he learned very early on at Barcelona. But is he going to succeed at Bayern? Only the future will say."

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