By Oliver Trust

PARIS, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Arriving in Paris for their second group match against Poland this Thursday, German head coach Joachim Loew must feel confirmed in his opinion.

Right after the start of Euro 2016, the 56-year old German coach has seen many tight group matches, often defensive sides and not what you call a goal festival.

"We will have to go through two tournament stages. The group and then the knock-out phase. A tournament is a marathon no short race," Loew predicted and said.

He would count on a "step by step" strategy. Facing their strongest Group C opponents, the next step for the 2014 World Champion could be to already qualify for the next round by beating Poland.

So far often a dead-ball situation was necessary to win. Strongly fancied teams have also been held to a draw and have to hope for better things in the next game. Only Italy, Hungary and Germany managed to win their first game by a two goal margin.

After beating Ukraine 2-0, Loew does not feel pressured into changing his first-eleven too much despite having central defender Mats Hummels available again.

Looking at the Loew`s last four tournaments such as the European Championships 2008 and 2012 as well as the World Cup`s 2010 and 2014, the German head coach never changed the first-game line-up in the second game.

If he does this time, Shkodran Mustafi could be replaced by Hummels despite Mustafi` s goal against the Ukraine.

Not to change winning ways seems to be the best choice from Loew' s perspective as he and his team will face a return to the Stade de France which is burdened with sad memories.

On November 13th 2015, the German team had the harrowing experience of living through the terrorist attacks in Paris that left over 130 people dead and directly affected their friendly against France.

As a security precaution, the German and French teams had to spend the night in their locker rooms and were not allowed to leave before the next morning.

"Of course it' s still in our minds, but we feel safe and we are looking forward to a football game against a strong team like Poland," Loew said.

He and his coaching-staff have prepared the entire team for the return to Stade de France but said, he is ready to think about football and the challenge against Poland from now on.

Looking at the Euro 2016 qualification campaign, Germany have to be reminded of their 2-0 loss in Poland followed by a 3-1 win at home in the re-match.

Despite Poland`s quality, Loew will most likely stick to a back-row of four with Benedikt Hoewedes and Jonas Hector along the right and left flanks.

Doing that Loew ignores the wide spread critics in Germany about the poor performance of Hoewedes and Hector when recovering after losing the ball.

And he will ignore the disappointment about Mario Goetze as a "false nine" in the opponent box as well as the one of Julian Draxler along the left flank and the poor performance of Mesut Oezil who failed to drive his team`s attacks.

While Goetze, Draxler and Oezil will all have to improve, the German defense faces a very special task as Poland`s spearhead Robert Lewandowski plays, like German keeper Manuel Neuer and central defender Jerome Boateng, for Bayern Munich.

Last season Lewandowski managed to score 30 league goals.

"To play a team with Robert is a challenge as he is one of the best strikers on the planet," Manuel Neuer said.

Against an experienced Polish side, the German head-coach expects even more work for his defense.

"We expect Poland to more counter attack more and we will need to be fully concentrated at all times," Loew said.

Despite the quality of Poland, the German coach expects a victory and "the next step forward" when it comes to the next three points and an improved performance.

"We know what we can improve," Loew said. "And I expect that we will do so."

As team-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger is not yet fit enough for 90 minutes, Manuel Neuer is expected to again be the playing team captain.

Boss on the pitch, leading team and game will again be the job of midfielder Toni Kroos, who deserved best marks after a remarkable performance against the Ukraine.

Something similar of Mesut Oezil is now on the wish-list of Joachim Loew. But in the national team, Oezil so far has not been able to show the same form as he has for his club, delivering 19 assists last season leading directly to goals.

The Poland game seems to be a new chance for the midfielder with Turkish roots as he said: "The first game always is difficult. But things will get better when the tournament proceeds."

Loew can`t wait for him to make the next step. "We know what Mesut is capable of and we have confidence," Loew said.

After all Oezil delivered a world-class pass for Bastian Schweinsteiger who appeared on the pitch in the last minutes against the Ukraine and scored the second and final goal. Enditem

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