Sunday, 3 September 2017

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

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

Joachim Löw on...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sami Khedira on...

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

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

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

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

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

3 September 2017
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