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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