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'England, Spain, France, Italy, Belgium are ahead of us' - Low plays down Germany's chances at Euro 2020

The Germans are behind five European nations heading into next year's tournament, their coach has claimed

Joachim Low does not believe Germany can be considered the favourites to win Euro 2020, claiming England, Spain, France, Italy and Belgium are all ahead of his side.

Germany booked their place at next year's finals with a 4-0 win over Belarus on Saturday.

Their qualification follows a disappointing 2018 World Cup, when the defending champions slumped out in the group stage, and only avoiding relegation in the Nations League due to the competition being restructured.

Germany's squad has undergone a reshuffle over the past year, with Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Muller no longer considered for selection, while Mesut Ozil retired from international football, alleging discrimination and disrespect by the German Football Association.

Low's side have won six out of seven qualifiers for Euro 2020, scoring 24 goals in the process, but the coach believes other sides are ahead in terms of their development heading into the tournament.

"I think, we can be satisfied with the year," Low told a news conference ahead of Tuesday's final qualifier against Northern Ireland.

"When it comes to the development as a whole, there are surely other nations who are ahead of us. England, Spain, France, Italy, Belgium - those teams had been forced into a big transformation before, because during the last big tournaments, like England for example, they exited early a few times.

"Therefore, those teams have been playing together for three, four years now. The same goes for Netherlands, who have had a well-adjusted team for three, four years.

"That's not the case for us at the moment, which is why I don't see us as the favourites for this tournament. But one thing is for sure, that we'll try everything, prepare well and that we want to reach the maximum during the tournament."

Low is still largely undecided on the squad he will be selecting for Euro 2020, with two likely candidates - Niklas Sule and Leroy Sane - currently out with long-term injuries.

"No idea. I don't know what it'll be next year," Low said.

"Yesterday some of the injured players were here with us. But then there are more players like Sule and Sane who are doing rehab, where we don't know how they're going to be.

"It's also important for me, in what shape players are in January, February or March. And then during the months to follow, who's able to play, who's in a good rhythm. There are certainly a couple of decisions which I can't answer today."

Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos says there is plenty of improvement left in the Germans heading into the tournament next year.

He believes the matches the team play during the international break in March next year will show where the team is at.

"It's no surprise that we want to win the game. Of course, the chance to finish first in the group is a bit of extra motivation," he told reporters on Monday.

"We've got some good players who have had some minutes. In terms of a grade, I'd put the year between a B and a C, because it's nothing special that we've qualified.

"Several of the younger players have improved already. We've made some progress. The international games in March will be important again as we play against big nations.

"We'll have to wait and see how we perform at the Euros, but I have a good feeling about it."