Monday, 9 October 2017

Löw: "We can't rule any players out yet", 09.10.2017

Ten games, 30 points – Germany have qualified for the 2018 World Cup in impeccable style. Joachim Löw’s men rounded off the perfect campaign with a 5-1 win over Azerbaijan. We spoke to the DFB-Team manager about the difficult start in Kaiserslautern, the potential role as World Cup favourites and the growing competition within the squad.

Question: A 5-1 win against Azerbaijan to round off the qualifying campaign. What are your thoughts on the game?

Joachim Löw: First of all, I’d like to say a big well done to all the players who featured in our qualifying campaign. Ten wins from ten games prove that the team constantly kept up the desire and concentration. That cannot be taken for granted.

Question: You can’t be pleased with the first half against Azerbaijan, though. What was the problem then?

Löw: It was a tough start. We haven’t played with this set-up before, and that was noticeable to begin with. There were a lot of technical mistakes made as well. We had a lot of young players on the pitch who need a bit more time. The second half was good. We started playing the way we needed to, and the goals came thick and fast.

Question: Do you now go to the World Cup as favourites?

Löw: You’d be mistaken in seeing this qualifying campaign as a benchmark. Sure, it was good, it was a top performance. But the opponents at the World Cup finals will be of a completely different calibre. So we shouldn’t get carried away. The players need to prepare in a way that will mean they are ready and in top form this summer.

Question: The next four fixtures are against top teams. Will you be experimenting with players or is it time for the first team to settle?

Löw: We’ll have to look at the situation in November. Tournament preparations begin in May. I will be trying out the odd thing, but we’ve got a strong foundation to build on.

Question: You used a total of 37 players in qualification, not even including Marco Reus. Will your World Cup squad be made up of these players or is the door still open for other players?

Löw: The door is open. It’s still several months away. We will be watching individual performances very closely. There is no reason to write any players off yet. Löw: Süle has some muscle problems; the substitution was a precaution. It looked a bit worse for Mustafi. He seems to have torn his muscle fibre.

8 October 2017
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Saturday, 7 October 2017

Löw: "Our level of consistency is once in a lifetime", 07.10.2017

The end of the World Cup qualifiers is upon us. Sunday’s game in Kaiserslautern (20:45 CEST) sees Germany host Azerbaijan in game number ten. Head coach Joachim Löw and Die Mannschaft midfielder Leon Goretzka spoke about the qualifying campaign, the team for Sunday and the 2018 World Cup at today’s pre-match press conference.

Joachim Löw on...

...World Cup qualifying: We can be thoroughly satisfied. I thought the way the team went about their task right from the off, undoing Northern Ireland’s game plan straightaway, was very impressive. Nevertheless, qualifying isn’t over yet and we want to win our tenth game as well against Azerbaijan – that has to be the goal tomorrow.

...his team: There will be one or two changes. We’ve had a chat with the goalkeepers and Bernd Leno will start tomorrow. Emre Can will also start in defensive midfield, and I’m planning on giving Leroy Sané a chance up top as well. I gave the team some time off yesterday to unwind a little. Even though we won’t be quite as in tune as in previous matches, we’ll still be looking to put Azerbaijan under pressure early on.

...the 2018 World Cup: We’ve been thinking about Russia for some time. We’ll have to wait and see what the draw brings. After that, we’ll begin looking for friendly opponents. We won the tournament in Brazil by working as a team, and that’s what we’ll need to do again. We need to be just as hungry if we’re going to win. Only we as defending champions have something to lose, which doesn’t exactly make things any easier.

...comparisons to the 2014 World Cup: Our team has been one of the world’s best for many years now – this level of consistency is once in a lifetime. No matter who we play, we’re capable of winning comfortably, and that shows you just how much quality this team has. Marco Reus got injured in the final game before the tournament in 2014, and Sami Khedira had spent six months out before it. It threw us a little and we had to use the build-up to work things out. As things currently stand, we’re top of the world rankings because of what we’ve done in recent years. That doesn’t play any role next year though. It’s important to have a good preparation period, to have top players in form and for everyone to go into the tournament with the right mindset, ready to go above and beyond.

...Manuel Neuer’s injury: We’ll have to see how it develops. I hope that he can return to training as soon as possible, so then he can be back at his best in two or three months. He is very important for us. However, Marc-André ter Stegen has proven to be a solid alternative; he’s very composed and gets the job done. If you were going to put a goalkeeper after Manuel Neuer, it has to be ter Stegen. He has our full backing, as do Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp.

Leon Goretzka on…

...his role: I’m still growing into it. I’m very much at the beginning of my development; there’s still a lot for me to learn and experience.

...the 2018 World Cup in Russia: It’s in the back of everyone’s minds. We’re all hoping to impress the boss with our performances. Every game is an opportunity to stake your claim and find some form.

7 October 2017
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Thursday, 5 October 2017

Löw: "My plan is to play Boateng from the start", 04.10.2017

Germany Head Coach made it clear in his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s penultimate World Cup Qualifier with Northern Ireland that Jerome Boateng will start. The answer to the question of who plays up front is still up in the air. Mats Hummels also responded to questions on Wednesday afternoon.


... THE CLASH WITH NORTHERN IRELAND: It feels a little bit like a final, with first facing second. They have secured the runner-up spot but can still beat us to the top spot and will be willing to risk everything with an all or nothing attitude. They have nothing to lose. The crowd will be so buoyant and the players will be raring to go and determined to go into every tackle. They spread the ball well, play very disciplined football and have kept seven clean sheets. That speaks volumes.I think tomorrow’s game will have a terrific buzz to it and a fantastic atmosphere.

... JEROME BOATENG’S INCLUSION: We’ll have another look in training tomorrow but Jerome is showing all the signs of feeling good. You have to be careful about overdoing it after a long time out but my plan is to have him in from the start tomorrow.

... LARS STINDL OR SANDRO WAGNER UP FRONT: Lars showed at the Confed Cup how dangerous he can be in front of goal. It’s possible that both will play tomorrow, perhaps even together in the starting line-up.

... LEROY SANÈ: I was in Manchester the other week and saw him in the game against Crystal Palace. He played very well and has developed so much. I think he has matured in the last year at City and he has come on leaps and bounds from being surrounded by the robust competition in the Premier League on a regular basis. He has enormous potential, so much pace and can make the difference in a one-on-one situation. He was new to us at the Euros last year and got a taste of what it was like. It was such a shame he missed out on the Confed Cup. He is in great form right now. When he continues to develop at this pace then he will make a lot of us very happy.

... CURRENT SQUAD SITUATION: I’m not sure how many players are missing, Manuel Neuer, Sami Khedira and Mesut Özil as well as a few others. I’m not complaining, that’s just how it is. We always have players ready to step up during the international break. Our aim at the Confed Cup was to give many new players a chance. I’m now pleased we have even more options at our disposal, who are ready to gain more experience.

…IMPROVED FINISHING: Our finishing was poor in the Euros. We needed a ridiculous number of chances before we managed to score. In qualifying, using different formations, we have now scored 30 goals, so our finishing is much improved. We have goalscorers in our squad. Müller, Brandt, Sane, Draxler, Wagner, Younes and others – they are all players who get chances and are dangerous in front of goal. These players will create chances. If we carry out our game plan, we are very dangerous, regardless of which players are on the pitch.

…PREPARATION: Today we just did one training session, as here we can’t really make any big tactical changes. The majority of the team, however, knows what our goal is, regardless of whether we do one or two training sessions, even though I would, of course, prefer to have more time to work with the team. Everyone’s motivated. We just need to stay very alert and play our game in order to get a result.

…POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF THE FC BAYERN SITUATION: There are none. I still haven’t had many one-on-one conversations, but I get a sense of the players’ moods. Amongst the Bayern players, I haven’t noticed any nervousness or tension. I have spoken with a few players. Jerome Boateng is very happy to be back in the team after almost a year out. I didn’t bring up any Bayern issues. But the players are relaxed and can handle the situation. Players like Boateng, Müller and Hummels have been playing for so long at the highest level and have already experienced similar situations at their clubs.

…THE OPPOSITION FANS: The Northern Irish support their team whatever happens. At the Euros they always brought a great atmosphere, as was the case in Hannover in the reverse fixture. So we already know that they will be singing throughout the entire match. The fans are special, and it has a really positive impact on players when they are so well supported from the stands.

…GERMANY’S WORLD CUP PROSPECTS: The hardest thing, as world champions and Confed Cup winners, will be to deal with the massive expectations and desire for success. When you look at the great players that the other countries have, it’s clear that it will be a tough task.

Mats Hummels on…

…THE NORTHERN IRELAND OPPOSITION: The Northern Irish are having a great qualifying campaign with a very strong defensive record. They are not only very committed in defense, but they are also tactically very sound. Their home record (no defeats in four years) is very impressive. We know what a fortress this place can be. How well they are doing is still a bit surprising. 19 points is an excellent points haul. Since the Euros, we’ve been aware that they are as good as nations like the Czech Republic, and that has been clear to see throughout qualifying.

…THE TEAM’S SYSTEM: We are quite flexible. Even though we are playing with four at the back, we do often play games with a back three. I don’t have a preferred system. I’m expecting a game in which we’ll have a lot of the ball. We need to break them down whilst staying secure at the back ourselves. In the reverse fixture we might have taken a few too many risks. Consequently, we gave them too many one-on-one opportunities on the counter, and, at home, they are more likely to finish their chances. We need to find the balance between attack and defense.

… BAYERN’S DEFEAT IN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Last week was not a good week for German football. Six defeats in Europe is a very poor set of results. It is naturally very different, but the national team is at a world-class standard. At club level that is currently not the case, maybe for some it is, but not for most.

4 October 2017
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Sunday, 3 September 2017

Löw: "We stand for a tolerant, open-minded Germany", 03.09.2017

Germany will play their eighth World Cup qualifier against Norway in Stuttgart’s Mercedes-Benz Arena on Monday (20:45 CEST). World champion Sami Khedira will then be ready to play again after he suffered a knee injury on Friday. The midfielder and national coach Joachim Löw give updates on the current goings on with the team and talk about the incidents in Prague on Friday. has summarised the most important statements here.

Joachim Löw on...

...the incidents in Prague: We don’t want hooligans like these. We’re not the national team of these people and they’re not our fans. It’s utterly appalling. I believe hooligans should be given the harshest punishments available. I’m outraged about what happened and I’m annoyed that so-called fans use the stage of an international football match to embarrass our country and bring shame to it. As a team, we want to stand for particular values – for a tolerant, open-minded Germany.

...not doing a lap of honour: During the match, you’re focused on the game – I first heard about the shouts from the stands in the dressing room. I think it’s good that the team reacted as they did. We all think the same of it.

...hostility against Timo Werner: The insults to Timo Werner are neither fair nor are they funny. They’re cringeworthy and unjust.

...changes in the team: I’m definitely planning changes; yesterday only players who didn’t start in Prague trained, while the others had a chance to get their energy back. Today is the final training, and then we’ll see how we should assemble the team. I won’t be revealing too much if I tell you that Marc-André ter Stegen will stand in goal. I’m also including Julian Draxler; he made a great impression in training. Sami Khedira trained individually; we’ll have to see if he’s fully fit. There will definitely be two or three changes.

...Norway: Norway and the Czech Republic have surely lagged behind their potential in the group. They’ve always had a real chance to qualify. I think their fortunes will change for the better under their new head coach, Lars Lagerbäck. He’s incredibly experienced and he’s a coach who can change the shape of a team. Norway have a lot of players with international experience. They won’t play any further role in the qualification group but the future certainly looks better for them.

...the Norwegians’ style of play: I know how they can play and which formations they’ll have to choose from. We don’t want to have to adapt ourselves to Norway; the key questions are: what do we want to do, what challenges will we have to overcome, what do we have to do better than we did against the Czech Republic? If we set out to do that, then we’ll get chances and we can dominate.

...changes since the World Cup: For a start, players have retired since 2014 and, secondly, I’ve said that we have to continue improving ourselves. We had to bring in fresh players to fuel the competition and to integrate young players – that’s our main goal. It’s a four-year process, not only to see how the team looks in terms of ability or tactically, but also personnel-wise. We have to be well-placed for next year; the Confed Cup was really important for allowing the younger players to get some experience. It’s not easy to get the young and experienced players working together well, but the team can only improve if we have healthy internal competition.

...his impressions of Mario Gomez: My impression is a good one, I get the feeling he’s fully prepared and that he’s on top of his fitness. Mario Gomez has the qualities we value highly. He has instinct in the box. I’m glad that he belongs to our country.

Sami Khedira on...

...his fitness: I’m getting better. I took a fitness test yesterday and I’m able to take part in the final training session today. I think my knee has fully recovered.

...his return to Stuttgart: It’s going to be a special match for me - I haven’t been at the stadium since 2010, so I hope that I’ll get the opportunity to prove I’ve still got it at venue I know very well. It will definitely be an emotional game for me.

...his return to the national team: I’m looking forward to being in the team again for the first time since March. As always, I can never stress enough how much of an honour it is for me. It’s going to be very fun to be able to play with some new players.

...the incidents in Prague: I didn’t see any of it on the TV. I was concentrating on the game and my focus was on the team. After the game, I realised that something wasn’t right when Mats took the guys straight back into the dressing room. I spoke to some people over breakfast on Saturday about it and, in my opinion, the behaviour of some in the stands is inexplicable. The response by the team was 100 percent understandable.

...Germany’s performance on Friday: The first fifteen or so minutes were extremely good - the passing, the way we were going forward. The way we were set up was how you would expect a German side to be. However, we gave the ball away too easily after that – especially in attack. That put the back three under pressure. That’s what happens when a team gets too confident. But you also saw the character of the team to come back from 1-1 and win the game. It was good to see the goal, because it proved that we weren’t happy to settle for the draw, even though the Czech Republic are a strong team.

3 September 2017
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Löw: "Mats had a superb game", 02.09.2017

World Cup holders Germany kept up their flawless World Cup qualification record in Prague. After the 2-1 win against Czech Republic, Germany head coach Joachim Löw spoke on the game as, despite the victory, Joachim saw a few things which he wasn’t pleased about.

Question: Joachim Löw, how happy are you with the 2-1 victory in Prague?

Joachim Löw: The result was great. Our main aim was to get three points and that’s what we did. We have to be honest though and today we needed a lot of luck and Mats Hummels’ aerial prowess to win today. The Czechs defended well but we didn’t play how we wanted to in the final third.

Question: As a World Cup winner returning to the squad, did Hummels show tonight what it takes to be the very best?

Löw: Mats Hummels and other members of the squad who went to the World Cup in Rio have to be role models for the more recent additions to the squad. That’s part of their job. Mats had a superb game. Not only because of his goal but he dealt with a lot of the questions being asked of the defence last night. I reckon he won every second ball and it was great to see.

Question: What exactly do you think went wrong?

Löw: It seemed like we had a lot of the ball but didn’t create many clear cut chances with it. Because of our lack of ruthlessness, we left ourselves exposed at the back and open to Czech Republic counter attacks. In most of the World Cup qualifiers, the key is to get the ball forward and make our way towards the goal. When we do that like we did at the beginning of the game, we ran the Czech Republic to death but we couldn’t keep it up.

Question: Do you take part of the blame for the issues during the match as you lined up with only one holding midfielder and two strikers?

Löw: I lined-up the side as I did for a reason. I wanted to play with two strikers and two number 10s as I knew that the Czech Republic would sit deep and play on the break. We wanted to get at them a bit more in the midfield and we didn’t get in behind the Czech lines which was a problem we all had to deal with aside from Timo Werner who was the only one to get at the Czech Republic defence.

Question: Are you planning on playing an extra holding midfielder against Norway?

Löw: We have to be on the front foot against Norway. When we play with three in midfield, we’re completely reliant on the midfield to get the ball moving towards goal. I’m not sure if we necessarily need two holding midfielders. Two holding midfielders mean you don’t get forward as much against what will be a defensive Norway side.

Question: Will the line-up change at all for the next game?

Löw: In Stuttgart, there’ll certainly be a few changes or two. I planned that before we played tonight’s match as I think it’s a difficult task for players who aren’t totally in sync with each other to play two 90 minute games in three days. Our great performance so far allows other players to get their chance.

2 September 2017
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Wednesday, 5 July 2017

"A Whole Lotta Löw" Group Netiquette

  1. I cannot emphasise strongly enough that this is a FOOTBALL group. Yes, of course, our admiration of Jogi extends to him as a whole but it is a strict rule that NO photographs are to be uploaded, discussions to take place or comments to be made whatsoever about members of his family. Automatic and permanent banning orders now exist for anyone who should breach this rule. I did not start this group so I could spend my time constantly having to vet gossip and decide what is or is not acceptable, and experience has taught me it is far easier for me to allow nothing whatsoever. It is completely unecessary. While I am aware that such behaviour may exist elsewhere online, I have firm ideas on what I want this Group's content to be and how I wish us all to behave. This is a common policy with all reputable and honourable fan sites/forum (for example, look at the stance on the FAQ's on the forum for the rock group, Foo Fighters), and I wish my group to fit into that category.

    Please also respect Jogi's right to have private time away from the public eye, even if others don't, so no 'holiday' photos (unless he has clearly given his permission to the media) and nothing that can be considered to breach his privacy. This is in line with the recent press release made by Jogi's lawyers, the wishes of which this Group has always adhered to.

    It is quite OK to link to articles/interviews in which Jogi himself talks about his private life, as obviously this is a decision he has made himself with whatever publication it is in question.

  2. NO fan fiction or links thereto will be accepted on the Group. 'Fanfic' is a minefield with many players and celebrities now appointing lawyers to block such material written about them. I therefore wish our Group to stay completely out of this side of the internet. The real world of football should be exciting and fascinating for anyone to find plenty to talk about.
  3. Sadly due to an aggressive attitude I have received on isolated incidents when attempting to enforce the above two rules, anyone found in breach will be blocked immediately, without further communication. I do not have time to argue with people as to how they think this group should be run and what they feel is or isn't suitable to be discussed. As admin and founder of the group, this is my call to make.

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  6. Usual rules of respecting other members, etc. apply, and I am sure I don't need to repeat those.
    Watch your language!! Words that you may find commonplace may be offensive to others.
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  9. I do ask that in the main English is used as I do have to admin and check all comments through, but the occasional remark (particularly of admiration) in other languages is not a problem!!!
  10. Hopefully we have all joined this Group because we are fans of Jogi and enjoy talking about him and this group was specifically set up for that purpose. I am thus asking everyone to try and keep the posts relevant, particularly in view of the fact that news/stories soon creep down the timeline. The odd post, for example an article about one of the players or the national team in general is great, but not constant talk about other aspects of football/life in general, There are many other places to do that!
Although the Group is mine and mine alone and as such whatever I do or don't wish the Group to contain is my decision to make, I have on many occasions consulted with senior members to discuss and shape out these rules. These rules are therefore made with the approval of those responsible for 99.9% of Group contributions.

I believe the rules ensure our group is a pleasant and fun place to visit. We hope you will agree.

It is lovely to have you along! Any queries, please ask, and welcome to the Group!


Friday, 30 June 2017

Löw: "Chile toughest opponent in tournament", 30.06.2017

After their 4-1 win over Mexico in the semi-final, Germany are in the final of the Confederations Cup 2017. Joachim Löw speaks about the action packed match in Sochi, the qualities of Leon Goretzka, the rapid development of his young team and the upcoming final against Chile on Sunday (20:00 CEST) in St. Petersburg.

Question: Joachim Löw, how would you rate your team's performance in the 4-1 win over Mexico?

Joachim Löw: It was an unbelievably intense game. It was important for us and impressed me how we implemented, from the start, exactly the things we had spoken about. Mexico normally force the opponent into adapting to their way of playing, but we said we need to do the opposite and be dominant, courageous and attacking. The team did that terrifically in the opening 15-20 minutes and the two goals were very well made.

Question: And then?

Löw: Then we pushed back a little, lost the ball a few times and didn't play with the same speed going forward. After the third goal went in, though, it was over. Compliments to our young team for reaching the final.

Question: Did you expect to reach the final?

Löw: That's what we wanted, but you can't predict something like that. That was another superb performance, but the result of another tough match for us. There were times when we had to close down the space and had difficulty getting close to them.

Question: What are your thoughts on the performance of Leon Goretzka? Is he more effective when he comes from deep?

Löw: I think he can do both. That's difficult to defend against. He can play in different positions in midfield and he can this quite easily. He can play in the number eight position, as a number six or even if we play with two number sixes. His greatest quality is that he just gets on with it. For the second goal he ran from midfield and that was the deciding factor.

Question: Your opponent in the final will be Chile who you drew 1-1 with in the group stage. What will it come down to in the final?

Löw: The players are looking forward to it in the dressing room, but they're not exuberant. They know that they have a final to play. We really want to beat Chile. It will definitely be a war of attrition, we will need all hands on deck to defend and that will be very difficult. It will be important that we put them under pressure when we attack and cause Chile problems. Chile is the toughest opponent in the tournament.

Question: Are you surprised at how amazing this your young team has been at this tournament?

Löw: I'm surprised, yes. But I realised after two or three days that all of these guys know how to play and are technically very good players. No one predicted we would get to the final. That wasn't something we were thinking about. We wanted to develop. This experience at a FIFA tournament is incredibly worthwhile and will hep these young players stand their ground at a major tournament. They have developed enormously and have become an unbelievable team. They fight for each other and are ambitious and hungry.

Question: Will we see more than two or three of these guys at the 2018 World Cup?

Löw: Yes, I hope so.

Originally on Uploaded here to prevent loss once moved on or removed from that site.