Low unfazed by threat of Nations League relegation

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Germany boss Joachim Low believes it would “not be the end of the world” if his nation is relegated to the second tier of the Nations League.

Low’s side, who have secured only one point from their three Group A1 matches, will warm up for their final game against Holland next Monday by facing Russia in a friendly on Thursday.

Germany will be relegated regardless if Holland beat Group A1 leaders France in Rotterdam on Friday.

“A descent would not be the end of the world,” Low told a press conference before his side play Russia in Leipzig. “Then we can rise again.

“It is no longer in our own hands to stay in the Nations League group. The most important thing for me is the European Championship qualification next year.

“The next year will be important to get us right and safer in our style of play. We are in a phase of upheaval.”

Germany have won only three of their 11 matches this year and relinquished their World Cup crown by crashing out of the group stages at Russia 2018.

“The result (on Thursday) is not too relevant,” Low added. “It is important what findings we draw from the game.

“Maybe we hung the Nations League a bit too high. It was not to be expected that we would play at the highest level again.”

Die Mannschaft will be without Marco Reus against Russia, but Low is hoping the Dortmund forward can recover from foot and ankle injuries in time for the Holland game.

Low confirmed Manuel Neuer, under pressure after his recent displays for his country, will start in goal.

Paris St Germain midfielder Julian Draxler has been left out of the squad on compassionate grounds but has not been ruled out of Germany’s Nations League group decider.

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov could hand a debut to Brazilian-born Ari after drafting in the FC Krasnodar striker as a replacement for injured captain Artem Dzyuba.

Ari has received his first call-up by his adopted nation after being granted Russian citizenship last July.

Cherchesov, quoted by Russian news agency TASS, said: “Let me remind you that he went through all citizenship application procedures himself.

“Nobody helped him or had asked him to get a Russian passport. We had no plans for asking him to join us at that time time, but Dzyuba got injured.

“It’s Ari’s chance. When someone can play (for the national team) on legal grounds, we always keep an eye on his progress.”

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