Thursday, 24 July 2014

Löw: "I'm as motivated now as I was on my first day at the DFB", 23.07.2014

Joachim Löw has finally had a few days to retreat and let the events of the World Cup in Brazil sink in. Having done that, the national coach gave an interview to to discuss this summer's tournament, the team's welcome in Berlin, Philipp Lahm’s retirement, his future at the DFB and his new assistant. Mr Löw, you've been back in Germany for a week and a half now. Have you had enough time to digest what you achieved at the World Cup?

Joachim Löw: We won the trophy in Brazil, a success that is and remains the result of an incredible team performance. As far as digesting it is concerned, yes, I'm aware that we became world champions, and that’s an indescribably wonderful feeling. I haven't been able to properly process these emotions yet, even though the welcome we received in Berlin gave us an idea of the enthusiasm we inspired in Germany among our fellow Germans. It fills us all with such joy to know that our performances and, ultimately, our success in Brazil generated such happiness here at home. How and where did you spend the next few days after your homecoming in Berlin?

Löw: I was at home in Freiburg, and I think it took me a little while to come down from everything that happened in Brazil. In those first few days I was still thinking so much about the tournament; all the sights and sounds continued to resonate with me. From the start of our tournament preparations in South Tyrol, we were together as a squad for almost nine weeks, and the whole time the eyes and expectation of the country and the world were on us. Although I enjoyed the various stages of the tournament, they were extremely draining, particularly mentally. That’s why I made sure I could step away for a while directly after the tournament and spend time unwinding with family and friends. News of Philipp Lahm's retirement came as a surprise to many. Did you have any idea that your captain was preparing to take his leave?

Löw: No, Philipp only told me at breakfast on the morning after the final. His retirement is a great loss for us both from a personal and sporting perspective. I could not have wished for a better captain. He did an incredible job of shaping, leading and representing the national team, so it's a great shame that he won’t be available for Die Mannschaft in future. That said, I accept and respect his decision. Philipp has worked hard for this success for the past decade and we have nothing but thanks to give him for that. As there has been no word from you in recent days concerning your own future, speculation has been mounting that you might also be contemplating stepping down in the hour of your greatest success.

Löw: I didn't think about any of that for a moment and was only sticking to what we had agreed before the World Cup – that after the tournament we would sit down together in peace and analyse our campaign, just as we have done after every other competition. I didn't extend my contract with DFB until 2016 just to terminate it prematurely, but of course everyone knows that developments can gather a momentum of their own in the wake of a World Cup. I simply needed a couple of days to let everything sink in, process all the emotions and then begin looking ahead to the next challenge. As national team coach, I have always been aware of the immense confidence placed in my by the DFB, and President Wolfgang Niersbach is representative of the exceptional support the national team has received and continues to receive. Personally, I cannot think of a better DFB President; he has always believed in us and helped us to focus on the task in hand. Now he has given me a few days' break, understanding completely that it is simply what I need at this point. To make it clear once and for all then – will you definitely be coaching the national team at EURO 2016 in France?

Löw: Yes – right now I can't imagine anything better than working with that team again, taking them to the European Championship in France and continuing to develop the individual players within the squad. I'm as motivated now as on my first day with the DFB. We celebrated a huge triumph in Brazil, but there are still other ambitions we want to achieve. The 2014 World Cup was a highlight for everybody but it is not the end of the story by any means. That is not quite true of all of your staff. You're losing your most important partner, assistant coach Hansi Flick. His successor has yet to be announced – when you do expect that to happen?

Löw: Brazil wasn't the end of the story for Hansi Flick either. He'll continue to play an important role for the national team in future, this time as the DFB's sporting director. Hansi and I have formed a real friendship over the years, and I've often emphasised that we collaborated phenomenally well. The same is true of Oliver Bierhoff and Andreas Köpke, who will fortunately remain part of our team. As for Hansi’s successor, I don't feel any particular pressure or need to rush into an announcement; we've still got time to work things out. I've got some ideas about it, and each of us now needs to make sure we take full advantage of our upcoming holidays to think long and hard about the tasks ahead of us. We'll find good solutions for every issue; all I can say right now is that I'm incredibly excited about the weeks and months ahead.

23 July 2014
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