Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Grindel, Löw, Bierhoff to attend World Cup draw, 29.11.2017

Joachim Löw will attend Friday’s World Cup draw (18:00 CET) at the Kremlin in Moscow, the third time in his capacity as Germany head coach. Six-and-a-half months or 195 days remain before Russia open next summer’s tournament at Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium.

The DFB delegation will be led by its president Reinhard Grindel and will include Oliver Bierhoff, business manager of the German national team, as well as Georg Behlau and Ulrich Voigt, the heads of media and administration.

Reinhard Grindel said: “A World Cup draw in the Kremlin – what an experience it’ll be. All the same, the most important thing for us remains the result in Russia next year. Whoever we draw in the group, we’ll be represented by a highly talented team who want to win the World Cup for a fifth time.” Grindel will meet with German diplomats during their trip to discuss the DFB’s socio-political activities during the World Cup.” >[? In South Africa 2010, it was Australia, Serbia and Ghana; in 2014, it was Portugal, Ghana and the USA. This time, Diego Maradona, Carlos Puyol and a string of other footballing legends will decide the fate of the 32 teams at Russia 2018.

”We would like to be in an group of exciting football nations, but we’ll take whatever we get,” said Löw. “I really enjoy the World Cup draw because I get to meet my colleagues from all over the world. I’m on a tight schedule, but I’m still very much looking forward to meeting everyone again.”

The event in the Kremlin will be led by Gary Lineker, the World Cup 1986 top scorer, and the Russian sports journalist, Maria Komandnaja. World Cup winner Miroslav Klose will carry the trophy into the Kremlin. The all-time World Cup record goalscorer said, “It’s something special to present the trophy to Russia and the world at this ceremony, the trophy we fought so hard for in Brazil.”

29 November 2017
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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

How Löw climbed to the mountaintop, 10.11.2017

The Times
10 November 2017

On July 26, 2004, after an ignominious campaign which included the nadir of a 0-0 draw with Latvia, the German Football Association appointed Jürgen Klinsmann as the national team's head coach. Given his total lack of coaching experience, much attention swirled around his choice of assistant.

Names in the frame included the experienced Bundesliga manager Ralf Rangnick, Jürgen Köhler, Klinsmann's World Cup-winning team-mate and the Iclenad manager Asgeir Sigurvinsson. But in the end Klinsmann went for someone who he knew from his days at the Hennes Weisweiler Coaching Academy, a man who had two fourth-place Bundesliga finishes with Stuttgart on his CV but had left two of his subsequent clubs in the relegation zone. "Believe me," Klinsmann said at the unveiling of his No 2 "he's not just here to put the cones out."

Thirteen years on, Joachim Löw, an unremarkable player and initially unremarkable coach, is one of the most recognisable figures in football. Since taking over from Klinsmann after the 2006 World Cup, he has led Germany to three major semi-finals, a European Championship final, a Confederations Cup win and won the 2014 World Cup.

Perhaps more remarkable than Löw's achievements is his longevity. England have had five permanent managers during Löw's 11 year and four month tenure. Löw has been in charge for so long that the first name on his first team-sheet, Jens Lehmann, was born four months after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, while his team for the match against England could feature three players (Julian Brandt, Leroy Sane and Timo Werner) born in 1996.

It is hard to think of an English analogue for Löw. Imagine a Sir Alf Ramsey for the mass-media age, and you would be somewhere close to gauging his renown. And yet, in an industry of charistmatic self-promoters, Löw, in his black v-neck and scarf, can cut an inscrutable figure. He does not engage in touchline theatrics, or make outrageous statements in press conferences, he is not a funky tactician. So who exactly is the man beneath the moptop?

"He's a very nice, laid-back guy," Lars Wallrodt, the chief football writer for Die Welt says. "In football you come across a lot of people who consider themselves superior to others. Löw is very down-to-earth, he has no interst in swanking around or pretending to be anything that he's not. He's very natural and likeable but oer the years he has become more assertive.

"Under Klinsmann, he was the tactics guy. Klinsmann was the motivator who would light a fire under them. But to say that he's merely a good tactician or a good analyst would be to sell him short. He has learnt how to lead the team.

"He suits perfectly the job of international manager, where he has one job to do, over a short period of time, with a collection of individual players from different clubs, to mould a team, not just in a playing sense, but mentally. The team that he has shaped considers itself a team in the truest sense of the word."

The most successful and adulated English sports coaches of their generation, such as Sir Clive Woodward and Sir Dave Brailsford. have been high priests of process. Löw is different. "When I make changes in the heat of a game, most of my decisions are not rational, but intuitive," he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2014. "It is football's unpredictability that makes it so fascinating. I find myself permanently confronted by the question 'What now?'

Nor is he renowned as a harsh authoritarian. On the inexplicably vexed issue of whether players should be allowed to mix with their wives and partners during a tournament, he has been relaxed. His everyman approachability - and his fame - are reflected in the fact that he is almost universally known in Germany simply by the familiar mononym 'Jogi'.

"He has created a particular atmosphere whereby it is a privilege to be there, but it can be relaxed." Wallrodt says. "He has a natural authority, because his way of dealing with the players is very open, they see that what he is telling them makes sense. He doesn't scream at them, he is understanding, but has the final word. If a player steps out of line then he can be hard. But the players know that, and therefore they are very disciplined. It is hard to find anyone who has a bad opinion of him. He has even become something of a style icon in Germany; people talk about the "Jogi-Schal", a popular name for a man's narrow scarf.

It was not always thus. Löw's early results included defeats to Denmark and the Czech Republic. "When he took charge people were sceptical," Wallrodt says "He had a somewhat comical haircut, he has a somewhat comical accent and people sometimes make fun of him." When Germany lost to Italy in the Euro 2012 semi-final, Löw was under pressure again.

Naturally glory in Brazil silenced the doubters, but to survive for 11 years in he thin air of elite management requires more than success and popularity. After all, Klinsmann had both and he lasted two years as Bundestrainer, lamenting on his resignation "My big wish is to go back to leading a normal ife. I lack the power and strength to continue."

In his hometown of Freiburg, Löw tries to preserve the normal life that eluded Klinsmann. He goes to the cinema, eats at the Italian (despite the ribbing that followed the Euro 2012 defeat), plays football with his friends. He also has immense reserves of fortitude, and in trying moments, draws on a 2003 expedition in which he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

"We took a different route over five days," Löw recalled in his Süddeutsche Zeitung interview. "On the last night I was at my limits. We'd already been going for 12 hours that day and we were trekking in temperatures of minus 30C. I wanted to turn round but something drove me on. That night things went through my head that I wouldn't have thought possible. But by sunrise we reached the summit and I got this feeling that nothing in the world is impossible.

Germany are ranked No 1 in the world and are the favourites to triumph in Russia. No manager has retained the World Cup since italy's Vittorio Pozzo in 1938, and Löw, whose contract runs until 2020, wants to emulate him.

"If anything my motivation has increased in recent years" he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. "After every tournament there's an emotional comedown and that was especially true of 2014, but i already had the feeling that the team hadn't peaked. THat's the challenge and the allure; to relive that feeling of triumph. We can achieve something historic."

On the Wembley touchline tonight, Gareth Southgate will, for the second time in nine months, come face to face with a man who represents everything an international manager could aspire to be: successful, popular, durable, even iconic. It must seem far in the distance. But if the story of Joachim Löw shows one thing, it is that, with a fair wind and the will to forge ahead through dark moments, even an ordinary man can lead his country to the mountain top.

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Löw has a high opinion, 10.11.2017

Daily Express
10 November 2017

Joachim Löw believes England are no longer a long-ball team under Gareth Southgate and are much smarter tactically.

The manager of the world champions and the winners of the summer's Confederations Cup as a string of injury problems going into tonight's friendly but insists he would have been experimenting anyway.

Löw is believed to have a pool of about three dozen players to whittle down to his final squad for the World Cup.

But missing tonight through injury and illness will be goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, defender Jerome Boateng, midfielder Toni Kroos and forwards Thomas Müller and Marco Reus.

RB Leipzig defender Marcel Halstenberg is one newcomer likely to figure tonight and Löw warned his line-up they face a stern test.

"The England team hasn't been this strong in years," he said. "They rely far less on long balls. All the big clubs in England have coaches who put a lot of value on putting together combinations of passes.

"You also see it in the national team, where there is more emphasis on tactics.

"England have quick players, the team is very well organised and they attack quickly. They are one of the best teams in transition."

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Löw searches for answer to Germany's biggest worry... who is his best third-choice keeper? 10.11.2017

London Evening Standard
Friday 10 November 2017

England may be struggling with injuries to key personnel at Wembley tonight, but Germnay will also be missing some important players.

Thomas Müller, Jerome Boateng and Manuel Neuer were all starters in the World Cup Final three years ago, but miss out this evening through thigh, muscle and foot injuries respectively.

Neuer, captain of both Germany and Bayern Munich, is the most important cog missing. Reports in Germany have suggested his original comeback, planned for January, could be delayed a further five weeks, but Neuer's No 1 spot for club and country remains undisputed.

That does not stop the discussion in Germany of whether Bayer Leverkusen's Bernd Leno should be the No 3 goalkeeper behind Neuer and Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen. When people are fretting over whether coach Joachim Löw is picking the right third-choice keeper, it tells you something of the first-world problems he has.

The strength in depth was shown in the summer, when Germany won the Confederations Cup in Russia with what effectively was a B team. THe Under 21s, meanwhile, won the European Championship in Poland, despite being without 10 players who were either injured or with the senior squad in Russia.

Those successes did exactly what Oliver Bierhoff could have done without: namely raise expectations for next year's World Cup in Russia, which have Germany's general manager "a bit worried".

"The situation at a World Cup is quite different." said the former Germany striker. "We know we have to be at 100 per cent in everything we do. We can't be short of a single percentage point or centimetre in Russia next summer. We're the hunted."

Injuries and lack of fitness did a lot of the expectation lowering for Germany in Brazil in 2014. There were major doubts going into the tournament over the fitness of Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Miroslav Klose and Sami Khedira, four key players in Germany's eventual success. On top of that, they had an injury to Marco Reus, along with the exclusion of Ilkay Gundogan and Mario Gomez due to fitness worried. The eventual winners did not enter the tournament in the shape of the world champions.

That helped to create an environment that benefitted an experienced team which still had a point to prove at international level, having fallen short in the semi-finals of the previous two major tournaments. The majority of that starting XI was no stranger to the big occasion - eight had played in a Champions League Final during their careers. What's more, Neuer, Lahm, Boateng, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Müller all had recent experience of overcoming past trauma in the final - having lost to Chelsea in Munich in 2012 - to then winning the competition the next year at Wembley.

Having that same sort of strength in depth when it comes to big-game experience is something Germnay lost with the retirements of Lahm, Schweinsteiger and Klose. That Löw is not short in any position for candidates to replace them shows you his strong hand.

England do not possess the same strength in depth as Germany just yet. It could, although, benefit England in the same way that it has heped tonight's opposition in lowering expectations for next summer.

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Löw: "This team plays at the highest level", 15.11.2017

It was a fiery encounter to finish off the year. Lars Stindl rescued Germany’s unbeaten record in 2017 with an equaliser in the last minute to make it 2-2 against France. In an interview with, head coach Joachim Löw gave his verdict on the team’s year, talked about Mario Götze’s comeback and what Germany need to work on before Russia 2018. Mister Löw, are you pleased with the end to the year?

Joachim Löw: We can be very pleased with the winter international break. It was a gripping match, and that’s exactly what you’re hoping for as a head coach. Along with the first game against England, these are the types of tests we wanted – both taught us a lot. It was great character to come from behind twice. We didn’t give up. How important was it to not end on a defeat?

Löw: The result wasn’t the most important thing. Of course, it gives us a good feeling to get the draw, but overall we can be very pleased with how the year has gone. I’m completely relaxed now – there won’t be any sleepless nights for me! What do you need to work on?

Löw: There’s always work to do. Even after a great year, we need to make improvements. We could’ve used space on the field better and we could’ve been more organised and compact defensively. These are things we’ll fine-tune during our training camp. The team give me plenty to think about, but I’m not worried! What message did you leave the players with?

Löw: I told them what we’re expecting in the World Cup. The players have to continue the season in the same vein if we want to be successful in Russia, but they all know what they have to do and what’s expected of them. Why are you optimistic going into this World Cup year?

Löw: We’ve established a very strong base from which to develop from. We know what we can do, and so I’m not worried about the build-up. The team play football at the highest level, but of course you also need to be strong mentally to do well at a World Cup. Every team will be looking to trip us up. Some serious challenges await us and we have to be ready for that. Mario Götze made his comeback for the national team after a year out. What level is he playing at now?

Löw: He’s on the right track. Mario’s moving well and looking good physically. He needs a few more games to get back to his highest level but he’s got a tough year behind him. His pass leading to Stindl’s goal was a lovely moment. How are you feeling ahead of the World Cup group stages draw in Moscow on December 1st?

Löw: You always go into these draws with a certain amount of nervousness. Afterwards, you can start preparing for your opponents and we’ll also decide which of the two training camp locations we choose.

15 November 2017
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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Löw: "Trapp will start in goal against France", 13.11.2017

Joachim Löw talked about his starting formation a day ahead of Tuesday’s friendly against France (20:45 CET). listened in.

Joachim Löw on…

the starting XI: Kevin Trapp will start in goal, and I can also say that Sami Khedira and Toni Kroos will be in the line-up from the first whistle. We’ll make some changes at half-time, but I will wait to the final training session to decide who comes on. There will be substitutions in a few positions.

Kevin Trapp starting: We’ve switched it up a lot in the past six months. Kevin's always been in and around the team since Manuel Neuer’s injury, and he played very well against Denmark in the run-up to the Confederations Cup. Marc-André ter Stegen and Bernd Leno have also played. Kevin’s made a good impression in training; he knows the French players well. We feel good about giving him the nod on Tuesday. We trust him – he’s a very good goalkeeper.

on the team’s goals against France: These November fixtures against real quality are a good barometer for us. We want to try out a few things in these games. It’s a different proposition to the England game. France are incredibly strong offensively and have a lot of midfielders and strikers who are at the top of the game. They will be more dangerous going forward than England and we need to be ready for that. We also want to give more on the attacking front, too.

respect for les bleus: The French team have a diverse array of attacking talent. They have a lot of options – the head coach has played a big role in getting the team to where they are now. It’s positive that Didier Deschamps has been manager for such a long time. France were good in 2014, even better in 2016 and now are stronger again and I attribute much of that development to Deschamps. They also have a brilliant youth system.

potential revenge for the European Championship loss: It’s not about getting revenge for me. You can’t change that result. It’ll be a testing game for both sides, but I’m not expecting France to put all their cards out on the table. Both teams are in a position to start fine-tuning. We need players who will be concentrated and really up for it. Tempo and emotion will be important.

the development of Leroy Sané: I visited him a few weeks ago in England. Players like Leroy can make the difference in a match. He’s developed physically since moving to the Premier League and is now playing regularly for Manchester City. That’s improved his standing in the national team. His football style can be very important for us.

security after the terrorist attack in 2015: This is an ongoing problem and is frequently talked about. That was an experience we don’t want to go through again. Time softens the memory and I think the situation has since stabilised. I feel safe and have complete trust in the security teams.

the lack of regeneration time in a World Cup year: The winter break is shorter in a World Cup year, but that doesn’t change our preparation. The load on the players is high – they’re playing every three to four days. You’ve definitely got to be careful and we make sure to rest players when they need it. Winning is not the most important thing for me. It’s about learning from our mistakes and improving. When you make three to five changes in the team, sometimes there isn’t enough time to completely gel in training. We don’t mind mistakes, but we need to learn from them.

13 November 2017
Originally on Uploaded here to prevent loss once moved on or removed from that site. Germany’s 2017: Tomorrow’s game will conclude a long year. Remember, we also had the Confederations Cup in the summer. The year has gone as planned – no losses and World Cup qualification completed successfully. It’s all gone very satisfactorily so far.

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
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.

  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.

    If you have any queries as to whether you feel an item is suitable for discussion or inclusion, please message me first, and I shall be delighted to help!

  4. I must ask all members not to use the 'Share' button that is attached to photographs/links to share them to their own personal profile page. Facebook puts this facility on and I am unable to disable it. We are a closed group for a reason, and many members wish comments to stay within the privacy of the Group. Sharing posts directly may make comments and names available to anyone. Please feel free, if you want to put any individual photo agency photo on your profile, to save on your hard drive and then re-upload, or alternativey cut-and-paste any URL linked to if you wish make it available on your own profile. Please, however, do not share original work such as montages or artwork, and individually taken screencaps, without asking the person concerned. It would also be much appreciated if members do not upload multiple copies of photographs that have been uploaded here by members to other Groups on Facebook, as members have often undertaken considerable work to get the photos concerned!

    If members of other groups wish to view our photos or see what is on our Group, they do of course have the option to join themselves!

  5. I also reserve the right to permanently ban any member who I am made aware is uploading elsewhere on the Internet, or alternatively promoting, material which may be considered offensive (to other members or the perceived subject). This will be done in order to prevent the possibility of such material appearing on the Group, or of our Group being associated with it.
  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.
  7. Please can we not take private photographs of members of the public with Jogi off tumblr/instagram etc. accounts and upload them to the Group, as I have no idea of knowing whether they would or would not want such photos of themselves to be shared elsewhere and also many of these photgraphs are taken when Jogi is 'off duty'.
  8. Even if Facebook asks, please do not tag this Group in any category or location. Leave that to me, as admin, to decide. Again another annoying feature I cannot disable.
  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

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Löw: "Chile will be at a different level", 20.06.2017

The Germany national team opened their Confed Cup campaign with a win, successfully overcoming Australia 3-2. Head coach Joachim Löw assesses in an interview with his young side’s performance and looks ahead to the match against Copa-America winners Chile on Thursday (20:00 CEST).

Interviewer: Mr Löw, how pleased are you with the 3-2 win in your opening game of the Confed Cup against Australia?

Joachim Löw: I’m pleased that we’ve picked up our first three points and in my view, we played very well in the second half. We combined well and had everything under control. We made a lot of runs going forward and the only negative was only being 2-1 up despite creating so many chances. We lost our way a little bit after 60 minutes and we didn’t make the most of our attacks as consistently.

Interviewer: Were the final touches missing slightly there?

Löw: Yes, we can work on keeping our stability. But despite all that, you can’t put expectations too high. We had some very good periods, which I’m really pleased about. I do not expect that everything will go perfectly after just ten days. We should appreciate how well the team has been able to implement the two or three key things we have been focusing on. I’m delighted with that as it is not something we had expected them to do so well.

Interviewer: How did you rate the performance of Leon Goretzka, who was involved in all three goals?

Löw: He was really strong, just as he has been the whole time since he has been with us. Leon put himself about and worked hard. He won challenges in defence and made excellent runs going forward. That is very hard to defend against as we saw with the third goal. He is in great form and is giving a very good impression.

Interviewer: What did you make of goalkeeper Bernd Leno’s performance?

Löw: The first shot from 16 metres was not easy to stop because it was hit really cleanly. He could have held the second but he is a very good goalkeeper and I have been very impressed with him in training. He has only made one mistake. That is not a problem for me.

Interviewer: You face Chile in your next game on Thursday.

Löw: It is definitely a good thing that not everything went well. Now we know what we need to work on. The Chile game will be at a different level. Chile are incredibly versatile and play a very intense game, so we need to see if we can maintain our stability for the entire 90 minutes, not just 60.

Interviewer: Are Chile still the tournament favourites for you?

Löw: Chile are definitely one of the best teams in the world. They have fantastic individual quality and are very versatile tactically in a way that most teams are not. They can change things up easily during a match. The players know where to make the runs and have incredible power going forward. They are an absolute top-class team.

20 June 2017
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Monday, 19 June 2017

What Löw hopes to learn at Russia 2017, 18.06.2017

Joachim Low has made it clear from the start that the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 provides him with a welcome opportunity to answer some of his own questions. “For me, the Confed Cup is a gift,” he explained at Saturday evening’s press conference. “It helps us to make some of our players better by giving them the kind of experience you can only get at a tournament like this.” presents a few of the questions that the FIFA World Cup™-winning coach will be hoping to answer:

Who is my backup to Manuel Neuer?

While none of the three goalkeepers who travelled with Germany to Russia dispute the fact that Neuer is the clear first choice, who should step up when the Bayern shot-stopper cannot play? More importantly, who is in pole position to succeed the 31-year-old when he eventually retires from international football? All three candidates are arguably strong enough to step straight into the No1 role for many national teams.

Although 25-year-old Bernd Leno starts against Australia, Low has made it clear that this is primarily because Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 25, and Kevin Trapp, 26, featured in the two matches before the tournament. “After Manu the competition has really opened up, and that helps all of us to develop,” Leno explained on the eve of the Australia match. “All three of us goalkeepers are pretty much evenly matched. All of us try to give everything in training and matches to make sure that the coach turns to us when something is wrong with Manu.”

Who offers me world-class quality?

The Germany coach is looking for world class – nothing more, nothing less. “Many of these guys are 20, 21 and have not yet reached their full potential,” Low explained. “Only a few of them are already world class, while others need another two or three years to get there.” The players who demonstrate or indicate that kind of quality at this tournament will hope for a return to Russia in 12 months time.

How will we fare with three at the back?

Ever since the 2014 FIFA World Cup™, Low has repeatedly stressed the need for his team to continue developing. This has meant experimenting with the status quo every now and again, including the introduction of a back three that has proved less than popular among fans and pundits. For a tactician like Low, however, flexibility is a precious commodity, and he selected this system in the UEFA EURO 2016 quarter-final against Italy that Germany won on penalties.

“Formations are a key issue for us,” the 57-year-old explained. “It’s possible that we’ll use different systems during the tournament and perhaps even within a single match. Being able to experiment in competition conditions is extremely useful.”

Can Wagner give me the Gomez factor?

With his ability to hold and distribute the ball, not to mention to collect and score from almost any type of cross into the box, the physically imposing Sandro Wagner is the kind of player not seen in a Germany shirt for several years.

Mario Gomez paved the way for this kind of tactical deployment at EURO 2016 in France, with his absence through injury from the team’s eventual semi-final exit to the hosts considered to be a crucial blow. “He gives our game something we haven’t really utilised in the past,” captain Julian Draxler said of Wagner. If the 29-year-old Hoffenheim striker can carry his pre-tournament form into the competition itself, he will be likely to earn himself a place at next summer’s World Cup.

!8 June 2017 - German version, English language version up 19 June 2017
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Saturday, 3 June 2017

Löw: "Champions need Competition too", 01.06.2017

Germany manager Joachim Löw and the national team have an intense few weeks ahead of them preparing for a friendly in Denmark, a World Cup qualification game against San Marino, and then the Confederations Cup in Russia. The 57-year-old World Cup winning manager speaks with on his inexperienced squad, the hopeful talent in it and the anticipation for the tournament in Russia, as well as the political situation in the World Cup 2018 host country.

Question: Joachim Löw, how good are the espressos in Russia?

Joachim Löw: I have to say – they’re decent. I’ve not had any bad experienced so far (laughs).

Question: So you’re looking forward to the Confederations Cup?

Löw: Yes, very much so. We’ve got time now to build chemistry within the team, which is good. I think the tournament is exciting for us because we can gain more experience – especially for this squad...

Question: ... a very young one without many World-Cup-winners.

Löw: The goal is to win the 2018 World Cup and retain the trophy, and taking part in the Confederations Cup is a part of that. I’m hoping that three or four, or even five players make an impression in the tournament, and are then in a position to put pressure on the established World-Cup-winning players as we go into the 2018 World Cup. We want to have players on a different level, and that’s important to me.

Question: Does that mean that you’ve already decided on 80-90% of your 2018 World Cup squad?

Löw: Not necessarily, no. We have around twelve or thirteen World Champions who are established players, and I know they have a lot of experience and a lot of quality, players like Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Sami Khedira, Thomas Müller, and Mesut Özil. But what’s most important is to keep rotating the squad, and that happens when the young players impress and want to fight for a place in the team. That makes those players who have already shown their quality continue to produce good performances. These players have quality, but they also need some competition so they still have something to prove. I want us to stay hungry.

Question: But the World-Cup-winners have an advantage?

Löw: Yes, that’s right. The players I named are constantly playing at the top level of international football and are key players for their clubs. I’ve also been pleased with their performances after the World Cup. Despite this, we want to always set out reminders that these players can’t rest on their laurels. They need to be pressured by younger players so that they continue to develop further and become a better and better. Every individual has to play to the best of their ability at the World Cup – maybe even better than they ever have before. A team will struggle if that’s not the case.

Question: Are you therefore treating the Confederations Cup as a tryout?

Löw: Yes, that’s how I look at the Confederations Cup – it’s important. We have talented players in the squad, in the Bundesliga, and in the clubs – but the Bundesliga isn’t the benchmark for us, it’s the best players that are the yardstick. Messi and Ronaldo. Julian Brandt, Leroy Sane, Joshua Kimmich, Julian Weigl, Leon Goretzka, Serge Gnabry and other players are very talented and have so much potential, but they’re not the best in the world yet, nowhere near! We need world-class players if we want to win a title.

Question: What do you make of the breaks between the big tournaments?

Löw: Over the years I’ve learnt that one needs to make changes, regardless of whether you’re successful or not. Not always abruptly, but over certain phases of time. We’re all waiting for every second-year in the cycle – the ones in which we play in a big tournament, so the Confederations Cup is an important stepping stone. We’re now together for four weeks, and we’ll play seven games including the two international friendlies. This gives me time to evaluate the players and decide who needs to work on what.

Question: What effect has the U21 European Championship had on you, in terms of not being able to select even more young players?

Löw: It’s a shame that Leroy Sane has withdrawn from the squad. He has incredible potential and a tournament would have been great for him – whether he played in one for us or for the U21s. There are players who have played well for both teams. The U21 European Championship is as important for us, and it’s good that the players will be looking to prove themselves there as well.

Question: What players will take on positions of leadership at the Confederations Cup? Is Julian Draxler a logical choice for captain?

Löw: Julian should definitely take on more responsibility as a leader. He’s one of the leaders of the next generation after Manuel Neuer. Draxler can play for Germany consistently when they retire. He’s become a better player and person throughout his time in Paris. Shkodran Mustafi is a player who can organise players well and is very communicative. Besides them, it remains to be seen who will emerge as a leader, which is exciting and nice to see.

Question: What do you make of the political climate of the countries in which you play?

Löw: We communicate with our President, Reinhard Grindel, who is leading the delegation in Russia. The DFB pay a lot of attention to the situation. I think that it’s important to use the opportunity to look behind the curtain when you go to a country, and then formulate and express an opinion. We’ll talk to the team before we go to Russia, like we did prior to the tournaments in South Africa and Brazil. We can’t forget that we’re the guests in Russia and are participating in a football tournament, and we shouldn’t expect football to solve problems and misunderstandings that politics can’t solve. But we certainly won’t just turn a blind eye.

Question: What exactly do you mean?

Löw: We spoke about the problems that exist in South Africa and Brazil. I see it like this: As a team, we have the opportunity to meet people thanks to sport. It’s about meeting others, and football has the amazing power to bring people together, regardless of skin colour, race, and political opinions. That’s what we play for. Our players are open-minded and should look at what’s going on and formulate an opinion. We should be open-minded to the football fans in every country –that’s important. I think that Russia is a great country for football and that’s something that we have in common. Our team can contribute something in that regard.

Question: Will you convene with your opponents in the discussions that Reinhard Grindel mentioned?

Löw: That’s not what we have in mind, especially given that we’re operating on a tight programme with many busy dates set for the calendar. Our President knows more about it than I do, as does Oliver Bierhoff, and they’re both in discussions about it. However, I think that the team and delegation already play a role. We want to show what we stand for – that the Germany team is one of tolerance, freedom, and one that looks forward to going to any country, and that is open to understanding the cultures and mentalities of people all over the world. That’s what’s important for me.

Question: Are you looking forward to the World Cup as much as you were in 2016, given the criticism on FIFA and the hosts, Russia?

Löw: Yes, we’re looking forward to it as much as we would any other tournament. I’m excited for Russia, because they’ve been friendly to me so far. You get the sense that the Russians are Germans share a respect for one another. But we’re focused on the football, the team, the tournament, and the opponents. The boys have worked hard for their success in sport and are thankfully fully focussed on that. There were discussions in countries like South Africa and Brazil, where millions demonstrated on the streets one year prior to the World Cup. We’re very aware of that.

Question: How much does the Confederation Cup mean to you?

Löw: I know from my own experience that the Confederations Cup is great preparation for the hosts. We did a lot in 2005, and it helped improve the spirit of the team. Russia are looking forward to it and are taking the tournament very seriously. As a manager I have to ask questions like ‘how big is the strain on the players whom I’ve relied on for eight or nine years?’ and ‘how will they cope with a tournament like this?’

Question: And?

Löw: I know what it means to be together for eight weeks like we did in 2014 or 2016 after a difficult football season. It takes a toll on your mind and body. Then the players start training again two or three weeks afterwards as they return to their regular league schedule. That has consequences, like players constantly getting injured because they’re not 100%, as they haul themselves through a season losing more and more form. Three tournaments in three years is the limit, in my opinion.

Question: Are players like Mario Götze and Jerome Boateng examples of that?

Löw: It’s still too early for me to be worried; I know that players do get injured.

Question: The German clubs were eliminated from international competitions due to injuries at the most crucial times this season. Is this a warning to you?

Löw: Not in the Champions League, no. Bayern could have done it against Real. Bayern were very good and at least Real’s equals – they’re always in the conversation to win the Champions League, but at this top level it always comes down to the little things and exceptional circumstances. Borussia Dortmund had to deal with the terrible attack. They had a good season in my mind. As for the Europa League, I had hoped that one of the teams would go a bit further than they did. Schalke had one foot in the semi-final.

Question: Do you ever get tired of football?

Löw: No, maybe just three or four weeks after a tournament. Tournaments last half a year for us when you include the preparations and the crazily intense discussions. As the manager I’m always in the spotlight. When the tournament is done, I feel fatigued a few days after, regardless of the result. It’s the same after every highlight. There’s so much emotion and then I say: let me relax for two or three weeks in peace. I want to refuel and enjoy other things.

Question: That seems difficult given the constant stream of football.

Löw: It’s a dangerous game, we can’t exhaust ourselves. You can get the impression that it’s oversaturated sometimes. The players go on holiday for a few days at the end of the season, but can’t really enjoy a proper holiday because they always have a training programme of sorts. Then they have to return after two weeks. It’s not good in the long-term. There are lots of tournaments, like the Club World Cup, the World Cup, and the European Championship. I think to myself that if you have a good product and you want to make it even more desirable, then perhaps a longer break would be better.

Question: Do you fear that there’ll be a point where there’s too much football?

Löw: We should remain realistic and not think of all the possible negative scenarios, as we all love football. However, it comes to a point where you have to ask ‘is there no limit?’ The European Championship was exciting, but I don’t find it that exciting when three of four teams in a group progress. It’s dangerous if a team can progress with three draws, because it means that the smaller teams will go in with the mentality of just defending, because they don’t have to necessarily win anymore. It just destroys the game. That has an effect on the quality of the game, and changes the way football is played. The game relies on the offensive, to act rather than to react and dig in with ten men.

Question: Is that not frustrating? Or do you still have moments of joy when on the bench?

Löw: Yes, because I also find it exciting as a manager to play against an opponent that sets up defensively, like Northern Ireland at the European Championship. We only won 1-0, but had ten massive chances. It’s enjoyable to watch my team play when they’re able to control the game like that, but for the fans watching in the stadium or on television it can be boring.

Question: What are your thoughts on the commercialisation of football – a topic that was brought up around the DFB-Pokal final?

Löw: The Pokal-final is a great end to the season and certainly a highlight of it – it’s like a public holiday for football. It deserves to have a big stage and be modern, young, trendy and fresh. Personally, I feel for Helene Fischer, and I’m sorry for the fact that she was whistled at – she didn’t deserve to be. I don’t think that the national anthem should be whistled at either – that’s disrespectful. The DFB-Pokal is a great competition as it’s the most important title alongside the Bundesliga which you can win in Germany. The clubs play on a huge platform and for big incentives. It’s clear that it has to be played out a bit.

Question: The DFB has attracted a lot of criticism. Does it deserve said criticism?

Löw: I find that the DFB is portrayed far too negatively. It’s obvious that sanctions aren’t popular with clubs, but for me fireworks have no place in the stadium because they’re dangerous and aren’t an expression of so-called ‘fan culture’. The DFB does so much good for football in society. It’s a shame that they’re the subject of so much public criticism.

Question: Is football harming itself?

Löw:The burden on the players is incredibly heavy. I ask myself: can a player play for twelve or 13 years at international level as was the case 15-20 years ago, or was Miroslav Klose just an exception? Can players who are 20 at the moment still improve when they’re 30, or will they get worse at 27 or 28 because of the burden?

Question: Is that true?

Löw:It’s not just the games. There are also very short breaks, short preparation times, the tournaments, lots of travel, lots of energy expired. I see signs of wear on relatively young players.

Question: Therefore, you’re giving lots of stars a break this summer.

Löw:Yes. I want to make sure that our players who have played in a lot of tournaments are rested for the upcoming season and can perform at their best next year, because they will have to. We’ll have a young and dedicated squad at the Confed Cup in Russia. We’re excited and we’re taking it seriously. Then next year Russia will see our world champions who want to build on their success.

Question:Should you successfully defend the World Cup title in 2018, will you consider stepping aside?

Löw:That’s still an incredibly long way off. But I know that there is still a good working relationship with the DFB. A tournament is always a point in time when you look at what the development has been and what the different perspectives are. Then you ask: is it ok? As the coach I have to ask myself whether I feel the team is achieving, whether we can still improve, whether I still have ideas. I don’t base this on the odd result, rather on the whole situation.

Question: Does this new, young squad of players for the Confed Cup also revitalise the national team coach?

Löw:Yes of course. Now we need to see if we can generate a certain harmony in a short space of time, a certain basis. We need to make things automatic, go back to basics and ensure the players take note of our philosophy. I find that exciting.

Question: Is development more important than the title for you then?

Löw:Both are very important to me. Development has always been important to me. I’m not a coach who only concerned with results. I want to see the team improve in their play and in other aspects. We always want to move with the times. Germany doesn’t believe, thank goodness, that if you just run and fight you will always get through. That was the case in the past and that was our strength. But everything has changed and we need to develop further in a footballing sense. Enjoyment is also one of the German values.

1 June 2017
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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Löw on Podolski's retirement: "A wonderful but sad moment", 21.03.2017

Another international, another press conference. Lukas Podolski looked as good as ever while taking questions from the media ahead of his 134th and final appearance in a Germany shirt against England on Wednesday. Before hand the 31-year-old received messages of thanks and good luck from for team manager Rudi Völler and ex-National team coach Jürgen Klinsmann, as well as the absent Per Mertesacker via video. Current Germany Joachim Löw also only had kind words for the attacker, as well as the promise of the captain’s armband tomorrow night. In response to a question from a journalist in the National Football Museum as to whether Podolski would receive the captaincy, Löw answered: “Yes, definitely.” Podolski’s reply: “Incredible, I had no idea until now.”

Joachim Löw on...

...Podolski’s retirement: It’s going to be a wonderful moment, but for a sad one as well at the same time. We have come a long way with one another, cleared many hurdles, experienced disappointment but also had the best form of elation that a trainer or a player can experience by winning the World Cup in 2014. The circumstances tomorrow are totally perfect. It’s the right surroundings and the right atmosphere in the stadium. So many are coming just for Lukas, he is one of the best players Germany had produced.

...lasting memories of Podolski: Lukas will play in his 130th international. He is a world champion, and one of the best players to come out of Germany. The way he has played is totally unique. But he has played a part in something wonderful, and the National team was like a family for him. He has an incredible sense of empythy for other and he makes everyone feel important. A player like that, like Lukas, will be sorely missed.

...the starting XI: Manuel Neuer is injured and has not travelled. Julian Draxler and Mesut Özil both have muscle strains and will not player, while Mario Gomez has an adductor issue. They are the players who are not available tomorrow. We will train this evening and then I will decide.

...England: It’s been noticeable in the last few months how much England are in a transition. They have more possession. They have a lot of good and very quick players who break quickly. Their play is braver and they take more risks than they did at the Euros in France.

...the first call-up for Timo Werner: I have been following Timo for a while now, since he was at VfB Stuttgart. He is quick, a danger in front of goal and has come on strong at Leipzig. Timo is someone who has what a lot of players don’t- he tracks back deep, runs a lot, is quick and is an excellent finisher. If he continues to improve like this then he I think he has a good career in the National team ahead of him.

Lukas Podolski on...

…his retirement from International football with DFB: I have had so many enjoyable and positive moments over the last 13 years. It already feels a little strange, starting with being here on this stage for the press conference and then going into the changing room. There will be many emotional moments. I’m so pleased I have the chance to end it this way. That means so, so much to me.

...being captain against England: Sensational. I only heard that today, I had no idea otherwise. There will be nothing better than leading the team in my last game as captain.

...his memories after 13 years with the National team: There isn’t one moment I could pick out and say “that was the highlight”. Maybe playing the World Cup at home in 2006, as that happens so very rarely. But there really isn’t one moment that I would want to pick out.

...his time as a German International: Time flies when you are a footballer. It is only ever match, packing and travelling. You have very little time to take things in. They were however 13 fun and cool years. Everyone played their part. From Rudi Völler, who picked me for the u-21st, to Jürgen Klinsmann and Jogi Löw. If you work with a coach for more than 10 years, you build something special, off the pitch as well. He gave me so much, in all areas of the game.

...a potential return to the DFB setup: I have a few more years left in me yet. Then I have no plans at the moment. I have always enjoyed working with kids, trying to help them - so that could be a potential route I take.

...what he will tell young players: You have to stay true on the pitch, that’s something every young player should remember. I had to fight hard, few players are being taken on nowadays and that makes it harder. Despite this pressure you should aim to keep the joy and the fun you get out of life, even if it is off the pitch.

21 March 2017
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