BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany’s Confederations Cup target is not so much the title as it is to develop young players with an eye on next year’s World Cup in Russia, team manager Oliver Bierhoff said on Friday.
Germany, who have sent a second string team to the tournament starting on Saturday, were more interested in seeing their young squad play freely, Bierhoff told reporters in Sochi, Russia, a day after the world champions’ arrival.
“On a sporting level it is an important tournament where we can measure ourselves with other teams,” Bierhoff said. “The most important thing for us is to develop the players.”
He said he would like to see the young team gradually come together and deliver several candidates for next year’s squad that will defend their 2014 World Cup title in Russia.
Coach Joachim Loew has brought half a dozen newcomers into the team, resting several of his stalwarts including Manuel Neuer, Mesut Ozil, Marco Reus and Mats Hummels among others to have them fit for next year’s tournament.
“The competition will be extremely valuable for the development of the team and each individual player,” Bierhoff said.
“We represent German football here. That is not only the 20 world champions but also others who have since joined us and we want to deliver a good performance.”
“The first priority is to develop the team and the second to win the title.”
Germany kick off their Group B matches against Australia on June 19.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Edmund Blair