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

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

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.

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  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.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Löw: "Rüdiger will play against Cameroon", 24.06.2017

On Sunday at 17:00 CEST, the German national team will take on African champions Cameroon in the final group game of the Confed Cup and play for a place in the semi-final. In prelude to tomorrow’s game, manager Joachim Löw and Leon Goretzka spoke to the press in Sochi. noted the answers.

Joachim Löw on...

… the line-up against Cameroon: I’m planning for Toni Rüdiger to return to the team. I had planned that before the game, because Cameroon have unbelievably fast players. Those are Toni Rüdiger’s strengths as well, with his physicality and pace he can offer protection. Emre Can went over on his ankle in training, it doesn’t seem to be anything major, but he had to pull out of training. We won’t be playing with the same team as against Chile. I will introduce a new player or two to the team. They absolutely deserve that. But I can’t alter the team too much, you can’t go changing seven or eight positions. You need to have a core. Three, four, maybe even five changes are reasonable – seven or eight is a bit too many.

… the expectations of the Cameroon game: We are not in the semi-final yet, no one can afford to see this as a formality. The most important thing is to perform like we did in the first two games. Cameroon have nothing to lose, they can only progress in the tournament if they win. Tomorrow will be the most intense and most physically demanding game. No other team at the tournament loves a fifty-fifty challenge like Cameroon. If you look at how quickly they turn defence into attack and how fast their attacking players are. You rarely see a team that has this mixture of endurance and intense pace.

… preparations ahead of the Cameroon game: The gap between the two games is very, very short. We only held a short training session this morning. The situation is clear: every team can theoretically still go through – even the two sides who only have one point on the board so far. Our aim is to build on a great performance and important point against Chile and secure our place in the semi-final. That’s the priority, our position in the group is irrelevant. First place or second place is immaterial. If we reach the semi-final, I will be completely satisfied. That is more than would necessarily be expected.

… The energy within the team: The travelling has had quite an impact. We flew to Kasan at night, that wasn’t exactly relaxing. Against Chile, I got the impression that the players were in a position to keep up with the pace of the game. I think bringing in the odd fresh player here and there will do us a lot of good. A few of the players will be given a break. That makes sense. Against Australia the pressure levels were especially high, with it being the opening game. Chile were tactically very demanding and played some intense football.

...the performance of his team: I've said once or twice before that ther places have good capabilities and are technically at a very high level. We've focused on three or four weaknesses because less is sometimes more. We also focused a lot on the offensive side of our game in the days leading up to San Marino and Denmark and practised our build-up play. We had a look in training at where we could improve and concentrated on where we were running to and following our passes. Before the Chile match the focus was on organisation and defensive structure. They're are things that you need against Chile. The team implemented those things very well.

...a possible switch in goal: I don't know yet. I need to talk to Andy Köpke about that. We had planned that every goalkeeper would get a game, but now we need to re-consider. It's not yet decided whether we'll continue to rotate or stick with the same man.

... a potential semi-final opponent: I don't care who the opponent is. I'll watch both games. I would like to face Russia as the hosts. That would be good for the atmosphere and also looking ahead to the World Cup. A semi-final against the hosts is always attractive. But first we need to take the next step which is against Cameroon. Then once we've done that, we'll see how we're going to prepare for the next opponent.

Leon Goretzka on...

... the game against Cameroon: Cameroon are physically very, very strong. We'll try not to take too many touches so as not to give Cameroon a chance in the duels. I think we'll have more ball possession than we had against Chile. The aim is to create chances and to score goals. I'm looking forward to this challenge. It won't be easy, but we'll be concentrating and will try to get a good result.

... potentially winning the group: You go into the group hoping to win it. That's the ideal scenario. But the main aim is to reach the semi-final and we'll give everything to try to do that. If we win the group then we'll have one more day for recovery and that's an advantage because you're fresher for the next game. You avoid a day of travelling, which is good because that's not good for the recovery process.

... his own performance: You don't prove yourself at this level in just one match. I'm not the sort of player who scores two goals in every match. Everyone should be aware of that. I'm trying to be more dangerous in front of goal. I played well against Chile, perhaps with a little less action in the final third, but that was my job.

24 June 2017
Originally on Uploaded here to prevent loss once moved on or removed from this site.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Löw: "We played at a very high level", 23.06.2017

Germany’s second game of the ConfedCup ended in a 1-1 draw with Chile, meaning Joachim Löw’s boys now have a strong chance of making the semi-finals. In the aftermath of last night’s draw Löw spoke to DFB about the strength of the South Americans and the final group game against African Cup of Nations champions Cameroon. Question: Joachim Löw, how did you see the 1-1 game with Chile? <p> Joachim Löw: I saw a very intense and tactical game of football. That was a game played at the highest tactical qualities and I think my team were class for the whole 90 minutes. Defensive quality and organization is also a form of quality and we showed that tonight. After going behind because of a mistake, we came back and that was a very crucial experience for the lads. We played at a very high level.

Question:Did you get the impression that your players were a bit lost out there to begin with?

Löw: No I didn’t they were lost, quite the opposite in fact. We had difficulties in the opening stages but responded to them so well after going behind. We stayed organised and our goal was wonderfully well worked. That was a blueprint for the perfect counter attack, it was sheer class. Chile created some chances too but that’s always going to happen. We solved the problems at the back and were very intelligent with a new formation at the back. The midfield worked hard too and made up a lot ground. Even more impressive for a team that has not played together all that often.

Question:What do you say to the performance of goalscorer Lars Stindl?

Löw: Lars showed how good he can be even after only one day of training in the Denmakr game. He is a refined player with a fantastic reading of the game and he knows how to use space. He was so important for us and always looked to get forward with the ball. He’s been very convincing for us so far. He is calm and self confident and shows no signs of nerves. Added to that he has a great personality and is a great footballer.

Question:This was the first time since September 6 1995, a 4-1 win over Georgia in Nürnburg when Berti Vogts was in charge, that a Germany manager did not make a substitution, how come?

Löw: Because the team was working and I had been expecting to see a sense of resilience from the boys, including covering a lot of ground and investing a lot. I didn’t have the feeling that any of the guys were exhausted and the organization showed that. Chile barely had any chances in the second half.

Question:Will you go into the Cameroon game looking to win the group or will you test out more players.

Löw: A draw will be enough to progress but it will be good for us to win he group. We go into every game looking to win and that’s the aim against Cameroon. Then we can play the semi-final in Sochi and not have to travel. But I have already planned to switch a few positions around. A break will do some players good, while the fresh legs will bring something else tour play.

23 June 2017 Originally on Uploaded here to prevent loss once removed from or moved on that site.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Zeit, 21.06.2017

Auf dem Hotelbalkon sitzt eine vertraute Gestalt: Joachim Löw, dessen Bekanntheit längst über das Amt des Nationaltrainers hinausgeht, trägt ein schwarzes T-Shirt, eine schwarze, elegant geschnittene Freizeithose, Turnschuhe ohne Schnürsenkel. Die Uhr am rechten Handgelenk, links ein Armband aus schwarzem Leder – sein Glücksbringer. Der 57-Jährige wirkt angespannt angesichts des bevorstehenden Turniers. Hinter der gewohnten Erscheinung hat sich jedoch etwas verändert, das spürt man schnell. Löw ist selbstsicherer, im Fußball hat das gleich was Rebellisches – er scheint sich dabei wohlzufühlen. Wo früher ein Blick ins Leere war, sucht er heute nach Konfrontation. Wenn es ernst wird, politisch, dann lehnt er sich nach vorn, wählt kurze, prägnante Formulierungen. Zwischendurch gönnt er sich immer wieder Pausen zum Nachdenken. Die vereinbarte Redezeit wird überschritten – trotz der Dauerbewachung durch zwei Pressesprecher. DIE ZEIT: Herr Löw, wir haben wenig Zeit, aber viele Fragen, wollen wir uns im schnellen Kombinationsspiel nach vorne versuchen? Joachim Löw: Sie kommen gerade von Bastian Schweinsteiger, nicht wahr? ZEIT: Stimmt. Aber er spielt ja nicht mehr für die Nationalmannschaft. Löw: Wie geht es ihm? ZEIT: Gut, er genießt sein neues Leben in der Unabhängigkeit. Löw: Der Basti ist ein guter Mensch, wissen Sie, was ich meine? So richtig von innen heraus gut. ZEIT: Ist Ihnen das wichtig bei der Zusammenstellung des Kaders, "von innen heraus gute Menschen" zu nominieren? Löw: Die fußballerische Qualität ist natürlich die Voraussetzung. Aber wir haben den Anspruch, dass diese Mannschaft, die ihr Land vertritt, auch nach außen für etwas steht. Das geht nur mit Spielern, die integer sind. So was merke ich sofort. ZEIT: Führt das nicht zu Langeweile, zu einer Gleichförmigkeit? Braucht eine Mannschaft nicht Reibung, Rebellion, Aufmüpfigkeit? Löw: Mit diesem Mythos muss ich jetzt endlich mal aufräumen. Die neue Generation ist anders, als ihr Bild in der Öffentlichkeit gezeichnet wird. Es heißt immer wieder, die Spieler seien alle gleichförmig, es gebe keine echten Typen mehr. ZEIT: Ganz nett halt. Löw: Die Spieler können offen ihre Meinung sagen. Sie differenzieren sehr klar, reflektieren sich, sehen, was problematisch ist, sind selbstkritisch. ZEIT: Woran merken Sie das? Löw: Sie schweigen nicht vor sich hin und führen einfach das aus, was ich ihnen sage. Sie drücken ihre Gefühle und Gedanken dezidiert aus. ZEIT: Aber in den wenigsten Fällen öffentlich. Löw: Genau darum geht es doch. Wenn sie im persönlichen Gespräch mit mir kritisch reflektieren, dann haben sie gar keinen Grund, sich öffentlich zu wehren oder zu kritisieren. Das bedeutet nicht, dass ich ihnen Redeverbot erteile. Ich wünsche mir Charaktere, die für etwas stehen und für Versäumnisse einstehen. ZEIT: Wie läuft die Auseinandersetzung ab? Löw: Sie kommen zu mir und sagen: "Trainer, ich sehe das anders." Und dann diskutieren wir, und manchmal lasse ich mich auch überzeugen. ZEIT: Wann geschieht das? Während des Trainings? In der Halbzeitpause? In den Abendstunden eines Turniers? Löw: In den unterschiedlichsten Momenten. Das kommt gar nicht so selten vor – und es imponiert mir. Spieler wie Joshua Kimmich und Julian Brandt sind durchaus mutig. Vor zehn Jahren waren junge Spieler meist leise. Haltung ist ja deshalb so wichtig, weil die Spieler auf dem Platz auch mutig sein müssen, Ideen kreieren, Lösungen finden, kommunizieren und sich durchsetzen sollen. ZEIT: Sie spielen gerade beim Confed Cup in Russland, einem Turnier, das bis zum 2. Juli läuft und bei dem die Sieger der jeweiligen Kontinentalwettbewerbe, der Gastgeber und der amtierende Weltmeister antreten. Der Wettbewerb findet immer ein Jahr vor der WM als Generalprobe statt und wird von vielen als überflüssig bezeichnet. War es eine große Überwindung für Sie, sich dafür zu motivieren? Löw: Für mich als Trainer ist dieses Turnier ein Geschenk. ZEIT: Es ist ein Geschenk, mehrere Tausend Kilometer von Spielort zu Spielort fliegen zu müssen mit dem Wissen, es geht um nichts? Löw: Es ist deshalb so wertvoll für mich, weil es mir dabei hilft, unser nächstes Ziel zu erreichen, die WM im kommenden Jahr erfolgreich zu bestreiten. Sehen Sie es als eine Art Etappe auf dem Weg zum nächsten Titel. Es ist eine Mission. Wir wollen Spielern helfen, besser zu werden. Wir wollen sie auf das nächste Level heben. Das brauchen wir, wenn wir den WM-Titel in Russland gewinnen wollen. Jetzt kann ich in einer Drucksituation experimentieren. Etwas Schöneres gibt es doch kaum für einen Trainer. ZEIT: Ihnen wurde lange vorgeworfen, Sie scheuten sich vor einem Neuanfang, einem Einschnitt. Löw: Sie können mir durchaus zutrauen, ein Gefühl dafür zu haben, wann der richtige Zeitpunkt für Veränderungen gekommen ist. Die will ich in diesen zwei Wochen herbeiführen und einen neuen Konkurrenzkampf unter den Spielern herstellen. ZEIT: Aber Sie haben doch all die erfahrenen Spieler wie Thomas Müller, Mats Hummels oder Toni Kroos in den Urlaub geschickt. Löw: Wie sollen sich denn die weniger erfahrenen Spieler sonst beweisen? Genau diese sollen doch im internationalen Vergleich den Druck kennenlernen und gegenüber den Etablierten aufholen. Außerdem ist es eine wertvolle Erfahrung für sie, in einem Land wie Russland aufzutreten. ZEIT: Merkt ein Spieler überhaupt, wo er spielt? Merken Sie, wo Sie sich als Trainer befinden? Löw: Die wichtigste Erfahrung findet wie immer auf dem Platz statt. Jeder unserer Gegner steht für eine eigene Mentalität, einen eigenen Stil, damit müssen wir uns zurechtfinden. Aber wir können mehr mitnehmen. Wir Trainer lernen die Abläufe und Entfernungen in diesem Land besser kennen, das kann nächstes Jahr ein Puzzleteil sein. ZEIT: Wir wollten auf etwas anderes hinaus: Sie sind Kopf der Mannschaft, Ihre Bekanntheit geht mehr als die der einzelnen Spieler über Deutschland hinaus. Spielt die politische Situation im Gastgeberland für Sie eine Rolle? Denken Sie darüber nach, dass Putin das Turnier nutzen könnte, um die Opposition noch weiter zu unterdrücken? Löw: Das ist doch auch ein Teil der Mündigkeit. Natürlich sprechen wir darüber. Wir haben unsere Spieler auf die Situation in Russland vorbereitet. Wir haben ihnen Informationen über eine App auf ihrem Handy zusammengestellt, auf der alle politischen Hintergründe genau beschrieben sind. ZEIT: Wer hat diese App gestaltet? Löw: SAP. ZEIT: Und was genau steht drin? Löw: Die App ist die Plattform, über die Trainer, Spieler sowie Betreuer miteinander kommunizieren. Scouts und Videoanalysten stellen dort genauso Informationen ein wie unsere Fitness-Coaches oder die Pressesprecher. Über Russland finden sich Infos zu Land und Leuten, aber auch zu Hintergründen und kritischen Fragen. Russische Historie und Kultur gehören genauso dazu wie gesellschaftspolitische Themen. ZEIT: Und Sie glauben, die Spieler lesen das? Löw: Das ist sicher individuell verschieden. Es ist ein Angebot für die Spieler, die sich auch abseits des Rasens weiterbilden wollen. Und das sollen sie, die Spieler sollen sich zu Persönlichkeiten entwickeln. Auf und neben dem Platz. Ich werde immer wieder nach der Rolle unserer Mannschaft gefragt. Wir wollen auf die Menschen in Russland zugehen, Interesse an ihnen zeigen. Offen sein. Wir haben hier in Sotschi Kinder und Jugendliche zum Training eingeladen. Nach unserem Spiel in Dänemark haben wir in Kopenhagen eine Pressekonferenz in einer Schule abgehalten. Das können wir auf unserer Ebene für die Völkerverständigung tun. Es ist mir bewusst, dass wir Sportler Verantwortung tragen. Ich blende politische Fragen nie aus. ZEIT: Ist es vertretbar, in einem Land wie Russland, in dem Kritiker des Präsidenten Wladimir Putin gewaltsam unterdrückt werden, eine Fußball-WM auszurichten? Löw: Da bin ich wieder bei den Menschen. Ich habe das Gefühl, die Menschen hier freuen sich genauso, Gastgeber einer WM zu sein, wie wir es 2006 getan haben. Natürlich würde ich mir wünschen, dass jedes Land, in dem wir antreten, demokratische Grundregeln beachtet. Aber ist es nicht ein wenig zu viel von einer Fußballmannschaft verlangt, die politische Situation in Russland zu verändern? Wir sollen Probleme lösen, die die Politik nicht überwindet? Wir wollen zur Verständigung beitragen. Beim Confed Cup vor vier Jahren in Brasilien demonstrierten Hunderttausende für Gesundheit, Bildung und gegen Korruption. Auch das habe ich aufgesaugt. Ich informiere mich, weil es mich interessiert. Wir als Fußballmannschaft haben eine direkte Beziehung zu den Menschen, zum Volk. Ich will meine Rolle nutzen und im Kleinen für Werte stehen: Offenheit, Toleranz, Vielfalt. Da sind wir zurück am Anfang unseres Gesprächs. Es mag schnell etwas abgedroschen wirken, zu sagen, man wolle Werte nach außen vertreten. Aber ich glaube daran, dass man mit einer Vorbildfunktion etwas verändern kann. Da geht es nicht darum, laut zu sein, es geht nicht um Effekthascherei. ZEIT: Sondern um eine sanfte Form der Rebellion? Löw: Meine Form. ZEIT: Welchen Eindruck haben Sie von Russland? Löw: Ich war im vorigen Jahr bereits in St. Petersburg bei der Auslosung und habe viele Leute getroffen, auch einfache Menschen – Taxifahrer, Busfahrer, Hotelpersonal. Ich habe gelernt: Die Russen sind freundlich, kommunikativ, belesen. Sie begegnen mir trotz unserer schwierigen, belasteten Geschichte freundlich. Das ist nicht selbstverständlich. Sie betrachten uns Deutsche als im Kern ähnlich, in Teilen sogar fast schon als Vorbild, in der Organisation, auch im Fußball. ZEIT: Sie haben eine starke Glaubwürdigkeit, vielleicht noch stärker als Politiker. Spüren Sie das im Umgang mit den Menschen? Löw: Schon, ja, ich habe als Nationaltrainer Autorität, aber ich kann diese Autorität auch auf meine Art interpretieren und ausleben. Wir haben den Brasilianern bei der WM ja auch auf spezielle Art imponiert. Man hat uns als sympathische Mannschaft empfunden, die Lust hatte auf dieses Land. Nach dem 7:1-Sieg im Halbfinale gaben sich meine Spieler nicht arrogant, sondern fanden tröstende Worte. Das ist Fairplay. ZEIT: Das war ja auch nicht so schwer. Löw: Unterschätzen Sie das nicht! Genau deshalb haben die Brasilianer diese Mannschaft geliebt. Auf der Fahrt ins Campo Bahia standen Kinder auf der Straße, sie haben uns zugejubelt. Man stelle sich ein 7:1 gegen Italien vor, das wäre wohl anders gelaufen. ZEIT: Haben Sie Angst, beim Confed Cup zu scheitern? Löw: Was meinen Sie mit "scheitern"? ZEIT: Sollten Sie mit diesem Kader die Vorrunde gegen Australien, Chile und Kamerun nicht überstehen, dann könnte Ihnen die Experimentierfreudigkeit als Hochmütigkeit ausgelegt werden. Löw: Glauben Sie mir, erstens leide ich nicht an Hochmut, und zweitens würde ich das aushalten. Ich sehe nur Chancen für uns in diesem Turnier, null Risiko. ZEIT: Das können Sie sich im Gegensatz zu vielen Kollegen herausnehmen, weil Sie bereits den WM-Titel gewonnen haben. Löw: Es gab Phasen, da wäre das einem Bundestrainer schwerer gefallen. Aber ich mache das, weil ich es so will, ich handle aus Überzeugung, immer. So hätte ich auch in meinem ersten Jahr entschieden. ZEIT: Heute können Sie das gut sagen. Löw: Es ist so, das können Sie mir glauben – oder nicht. ZEIT: Haben Sie eigentlich auch mit den Spielern gesprochen, die Sie nicht eingeladen haben? Mit denen, die noch nicht in den Genuss großer DFB-Erfolge gekommen sind? Löw: Das sind die schwierigsten Gespräche. Ich habe sie alle persönlich angerufen. Ich weiß ja, wie weh das tut. Aber wenn ich von ihnen verlange, dass sie mutig sind, dann muss ich mich auch diesen Situationen stellen. ZEIT: Gab es Widerspruch? Löw: Erst waren sie überrascht über meinen Anruf und auch irgendwie dankbar, es auf diese Weise zu erfahren. Aber natürlich sagen sie mir auch, dass sie es nicht nachvollziehen können. Originally on BACK-UP