German defenders over-rated, says Matthaeus
Former captain Lothar Matthaeus has branded several Germany defenders "over-rated" after throwing away a four-goal lead to draw 4-4 draw with Sweden in a World Cup qualifier.
"Some are overrated. (Mats) Hummel, who was missing in Berlin, is on a good path, but for me, (Per) Mertesacker is not a central defender of international stature," Matthaeus told German daily Bild.
"(Holger) Badstuber and (Jerome) Boateng are not yet of world-class quality.
"Generally, there is a lack of someone who gets under the skin of the opposition. You have to put in a few fouls from time to time!"
On Saturday, Germany coach Joachim Loew cancelled an appointment to appear on German television that evening, because of a fever.
The 52-year-old had been due to answer questions about Tuesday's shock draw in Berlin against Sweden when the hosts conceded four goals in the last 30 minutes.
The result reopened the debate in the German media as to whether the national team is missing strong leadership under captain Philipp Lahm and vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, but Matthaeus said it is not the case.
"We also lost World Cup finals when players like (Paul) Breitner or (Karl-Heinz) Rummenigge were out on the pitch," said Matthaeus, who won 150 caps for Germany and captained the team to the 1990 World Cup title.
"(Steffen) Effenberg played with me when we lost a Champions League final (in 1999 to Manchester United."
But fellow former Germany captain Franz Beckenbauer is backing Loew to get the national team back on the right path with his team top of Group C.
"I say the team will learn their lessons," Beckenbauer, who admitted Germany "disintegrated in the decisive phase" of the Sweden game, told magazine Focus.
Former Bayern Munich star Beckenbauer said he had been reminded of the Bavarians' 7-4 Bundesliga defeat to Kaiserslautern in 1973 when they threw away a 4-1 lead.
"It's like a bad chain reaction: first it shakes the midfield, then the defence and at the end, the goalkeeper - and nobody really knows why.
"That is what it was like almost 40 years ago - and it still happens today."
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