BERLIN (Reuters) - World Cup winners Germany believe the June dates for internationals are far from convenient with domestic and European club competitions only just over and players eager for a break after a long season.
The Germans face the United States in a friendly in Cologne on Wednesday before their Euro 2016 qualifier against minnows Gibraltar three days later in Portugal.
“The date is far from ideal,” team manager Oliver Bierhoff told reporters on Monday.
“It is an international competition date for national teams to play matches. We have no influence on fixing the dates for the qualifiers so we have the Gibraltar match assigned on that date.”
The domestic league ended last month with many players already on holiday before their teams’ pre-season training starts next month.
Bierhoff said the internationals did at least offer younger players the chance to come in while others, like Bayern’s Thomas Mueller, are being rested following a busy season and with next year’s European Championship in France in mind.
He also sounded confident that the players would not have lost too much in terms of fitness.
“We have contacted the players and they have said they have been keeping fit. I also don’t think you lose too much fitness in such a short period of time.”
Captain Bastian Schweinsteiger also declared himself fully fit despite the unsuitable dates.
”The dates for these games are what they are,“ said the midfielder. ”They are at these specific dates and obviously there are far more ideal ones than those.
“But now it is what it is and we have to stay disciplined on the pitch and also play good games for the fans.”
Apart from Mueller and midfielder Toni Kroos, who are being rested, Germany are also without injured goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and defender Mats Hummels.
”Obviously, Gibraltar are a small footballing nation,“ Bierhoff said. ”We know that and obviously a win is an obligation for us and hopefully with a lot of goals.
“But we take them seriously as we do every opponent and we will treat them with the proper respect.”
Germany are second in qualifying Group D on 10 points from five matches, one behind leaders Poland and level with Scotland, who are third on goal difference.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann