Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Joachim Löw: "A World Cup win would be the cherry on the cake", 04.06.2014

The training camp is now done and dusted and the final Germany squad has been confirmed. In an interview with the Sport Information Service (SID – Sport-Informations-Dienst) national team coach Joachim Löw looks ahead to the World Cup in Brazil, where Die Mannschaft will begin their campaign against Portugal in Salvador on 16 June from 18:00 CET.

Question: Mr Löw, what outcome will leave you satisfied that this summer’s tournament was a success?

Joachim Löw: Although we didn’t become world champions in 2010, the way the team performed there generated so much excitement back at home in Germany. I remember seeing pictures of the crazy atmosphere in our country after the games against England and Argentina. We’ll all be happy if we can manage to create that sense of excitement at home again from thousands of miles away.

Question: How often have you already played through the tournament in your mind? And have you perhaps even dreamed of the trophy once or twice?

Löw: At night, my mind’s often busy with thoughts of formations, injuries or particular matches, but I haven’t really dreamed about the trophy yet.

Question: Spain waited a long time for a title, then after finally winning the 2008 European Championship they won two more major trophies straight away (2010 World Cup and 2012 European Championship – editor’s note). Do you believe that winning this summer’s tournament could open the floodgates for your team in a similar way?

Löw: What Spain achieved is certainly not normal. At every tournament, it is difficult to maintain strong performances again and again. Spain have an exceptional generation of players at their disposal right now. They waited a long while for a title, but they’ve never had such a good team as the one they’ve had since 2008. It’s very unusual to win three major international trophies in a row, particularly as the structure of a team usually changes over time. Spain have been able to play with almost exactly the same team at all the tournaments they’ve won, and I think there are serious doubts as to whether any other team could manage that.

Question: Many of your team’s top performers are already over 30. How important would it be for Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Podolski and 36-year-old Miroslav Klose’s generation to win a title with the national team this time?

Löw: Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm have won the Champions League and several domestic trophies. They have already played more than 100 internationals and done so much for German football. This will be Miroslav Klose’s fourth World Cup, a feat very few players manage. They’ve all had phenomenal, incredible careers already, but a World Cup would naturally be the crowning achievement – the cherry on the cake, so to speak.

Question: You’ve already spoken about the unique conditions in Brazil on several occasions, but it’s impossible to simulate the exact environment. How well prepared are the players for what you expect to encounter there?

Löw: We’ve given them plenty of information, but the only way they can get a feel for the conditions is by being there. We’ve got to experience Brazil too, which is why we’re flying out so early. When we get there, we’ll be able to simulate a match situation by training in the midday heat or at the kick-off time of the matches we’re playing. By doing that, we can gradually adjust to the conditions.

Question: You have a total of 12 players from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in your squad. How helpful is it to have these blocks of players, particularly given that Spain won three titles with a team comprised mostly of Barcelona and Real Madrid players?

Löw: It won’t be a disadvantage for us to have groups of players from the same couple of teams; in fact it can and will be good for us. Despite that, it’s not an essential requirement. The quality of individual players and the requirements in each position are more important to me than ensuring that several of the players come from the same teams.

Question: Is there one German player that you believe will become the major star of this World Cup?

Löw: There isn’t just one; I can think of several who could play a major role. Of course, your mind immediately jumps to attacking players, but a defender may well become the breakthrough player of the tournament too.

Question: After his excellent performances for Dortmund recently, do you see Marco Reus taking on a central position for Die Mannschaft too, or do you believe he’ll be better in his original role on the left wing?

Löw: He can play in either position. He has generally played on the left for us, and we’ve always been very satisfied with his work there, but a player of his ability can always play a more central role too. The only place I don’t think he would be quite as effective is right up front. It’s better for him if he can create something from a deeper position. He can certainly play centrally, but tucked in behind rather than as a lone striker.

Question: Do you have any concerns about Mesut Özil after his patchy season?

Löw: I was concerned when he was injured but not about his performances, because I know he can produce unbelievable displays on the pitch. We’ll have to tease them out of him, because he’s a player who can make the difference and decide matches.

4 June 2014
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