Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Löw plans for Leno and Trapp to start a half each, 26.03.2018

Who’s starting against Brazil? What relevance does the 7-1 win in Belo Horizonte four years ago have? Germany head coach Joachim Löw gives us a little glimpse of his starting XI for Tuesday night’s friendly in Berlin’s Olympiastadion and shares his thoughts on the legendary semi-final four years ago. He was joined in the press conference by Jerome Boateng and Matthias Ginter – DFB.de were in attendance to jot down the important quotes.

JOACHIM LÖW ON... ...the importance of the game: Both games are of great significance – they’re both tests against teams at the highest level, as we saw against Spain. When you analyse the game, you see that both teams had an unbelievably good pass-completion rate, which in itself tells us an awful lot. I think the same can be said for our next opponents as well: Brazil have transformed in recent years and are back to their old strengths. We are very pleased to get oppositions like this and can learn a lot from them.

...the semi-final at the 2014 World Cup: That’s much more of an issue in Brazil. It was obviously a very enjoyable game, but just a step to the World Cup title at the end of the day. The very next morning all our focus was already on the final and beaten Argentina.

...personnel: Marc André ter Stegen will definitely be rested, he’d already had knee problems before so they definitely need a few days’ rest. Depending on how the game unfolds, Kevin Trapp and Bernd Leno will play a half each. As for who else starts, we’ll have to wait and see. Marvin Plattenhardt, Ilkay Gündogan and Leroy Sané will start, as I’ve already said, but whether Sami Khedira can play is doubtful – he’s been having some muscle problems. He will participate in the final training session, but we won’t be taking any risks. He will tell me honestly after the session whether he is able to play.

... Leroy Sané and Ilkay Gündogan: Both have made excellent progress in Manchester – Ilkay hasn’t had any major injuries since the start of the season and we all know him from the years before his injury as someone who always helped the team play nice football. Leroy Sané made the right decision in going to Manchester City – he can really show his quality in that team; he’s an outstanding one-on-one player and I hope he can show this in tomorrow’s game, show his unpredictability.

...German philosophy: That’s been another development: If everything was still how it used to be, Brazil would win every World Cup – no other country has such a high volume of individual brilliance. In Germany we’ve always lived off our fight, commitment and our unwavering desire to win, and we still have that, but we have needed to develop in other areas. Today, Germany stands for creativity and a clearly attack-orientated footballing philosophy.

The opposition and their individual brilliance: You can’t compare players one-to-one; every player has his own strengths and weaknesses. Every player in Brazil’s team is outstanding on the ball, but we now have players that are equally good. I think Brazil have become a team again, a team in which everyone has their role, without a single superstar enjoying his own freedom. Even Coutinho and Neymar have integrated themselves into this team philosophy. In 2014 we had a fantastic team, without creating a superstar. Everyone was strong in their position and played to their strengths – generally, a good team performance is always to be held in higher regard than individual brilliance. If top players don’t integrate in a team, it will be difficult for that team to win anything.

JEROME BOATENG ON... The game against Brazil in his hometown of Berlin: This game is a big deal for me: Brazil are one of the best teams in the world and we are pleased to be playing against them. It will be a great test of our abilities, a chance to see where we stand. It always helps us make progress playing against strong opponents. For me personally, it’s something very special: As a young lad I would dream of playing against Brazil in the Olympiastadion. I am so happy to be able to play in this game.

...Experiences off the pitch during the 2014 World Cup: The people of Brazil were extremely friendly, very likeable – it was a great experience for all of us. We learned a lot about the culture, the cuisine and the language. To leave with the World Cup trophy rounded off an amazing experience.

...Joachim Löw’s tenure: I see it as a real positive – the team has been very successful with him as the manager; we’ve kept on developing further under him. He’s a very open person; we can speak to him about anything. We all trust him and he trusts us. He has done and continues to do a fantastic job.

...the 22 game unbeaten run: As a team, we always want to win, whether it’s a friendly, a World Cup qualifier or at a tournament. This will be the case tomorrow as well, but most importantly, we need to play well and try to win so we can learn things about our game.

…his criticisms of the game against Spain: There is always room for improvement, in every aspect. Against Spain, for example, our pressing game didn’t work. We want to be successful this summer, so we definitely need to address things like this. That’s better than putting it to one side – then we’ll all feel stupid if it comes down to that.

MATTHIAS GINTER ON... ...competition within the Germany squad: We have excellent players. I think the Confed Cup and the international games after that did me a lot of good. I try to develop as a player, here and at my club. I always do everything I can to improve and impress with my performances.

...player salaries professional football: It’s not a major issue in the team. Someone’s attitude towards this depends on what kind of person they are. High salaries compared to other jobs aren’t a new discovery. It’s down to every individual to contribute to society – I started a foundation recently.

...the flexibility of the Germany squad: That has its advantages, because it allows us to prepare differently depending on the opponent and never be too predictable.

26 March 2018
Originally on . Uploaded here to prevent loss once removed from or moved on that site.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Löw: "Excellent preparation for the World Cup", 24.03.2018

Friday evening’s 1-1 draw against Spain was an exciting game and first-class preparation for the World Cup: Germany head coach Joachim Löw watched over a great performance from Die Mannschaft, which forms a building block for the upcoming weeks. Thomas Müller scored with a spectacular effort from distance on Friday evening to equalise the game and maintain Germany’s 22-match unbeaten run since the 2016 Euros semi-finals.

Löw speaks in an interview with DFB.de about the Spain game as well as the upcoming game in Berlin against record world champions Brazil on Tuesday (KO 20:45 CEST).

Q: Mr Löw, have Spain showed you how rocky the road to successfully defending the World Cup title will be?

Joachim Löw: Spain are one of the best teams in Europe. They have a huge amount of experience, so they know what to do in every situation. Spain and other experienced teams can and will play a decisive role at the World Cup.

Q: You’ve spoken of knowledge. What knowledge have you acquired and which bits are key?

Löw: I’ve learned a few lessons. You have to play an almost man-to-man system at the back, so that you can put a team who pass so well under pressure when they attack. It was worth taking the risk, even if we didn’t always manage it. I don’t normally do that without a single training session beforehand. You also have to take into account that other teams rate us highly, which is important to realise. The French and the Argentinians do that as well.

Q: Which added benefits can video analysis bring? Löw: We still need to outline everything which needs working on. We can analyse the small errors from the game. With our passing game, we were able to make Spain run around a bit. You can see how we’ve developed over time. Both teams can show their full potential at the World Cup.

Q: Tuesday’s match against record world champions Brazil is fast approach. Will you make any changes to the team?

Löw: Yes. I intend to select Marvin Plattenhardt for the game. I think Ilkay Gündogan will start as well as Leroy Sané. Of course, I can make substitutions during the game.

Originally on dfb.de. Uploaded here to prevent loss once moved on or removed from that site.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The Inner Flame, Mercedes-Benz website interview, March 2018

With its towering columns that disappear into the darkness, you’d be forgiven for supposing the old combined heat and power station in Berlin’s Mitte district was a cathedral as you looked around its interior. Puddles of water on the concrete floor reflect the fluorescent lighting that has been set up for production of the new World Cup advert for Mercedes-Benz. Joachim Löw – the world champion coach everyone will be trying to beat this summer – is here for the shoot. We spoke with him on set.

Mr Löw, you draw a distinction between defending the World Cup title and wanting to win it. What kind of mindset does a team need to become the world champion?

Joachim Löw: Above all, what you need is immense mental strength. When you compete with the best of the best, you have to be ready to encounter incredible resistance. Matches are often played on a knife-edge: a single mistake could spell the end. So we don’t start working just a few days or weeks before a tournament – we’re continually training for it.

You once said that the team needed a bit of time to digest the 2014 World Cup victory before being able to “obsess” over details again. Can you tell us what this was like?

It was a long process. The core of our team has been together since 2010. We were ridiculed in 2012 for losing against Italy in the semi-finals of the European Championship; we made mistakes that we had to learn from. And then there’s the enormous emotional aspect that a tournament involves. You give it your all; you’re focused and your eyes are on the prize – both as an individual and as a team. You’re pushed right to your physical and psychological limits. And then suddenly, you’ve won. You’re being celebrated everywhere you go. It’s a real thrill.

How long does it last?

Until it all starts over again in a couple of weeks. You’re back at zero. And even though you know that the things you’ve previously done are no longer what’s important, you can’t help but revel in the euphoria of it all. This brings the risk of thinking that it will all just happen again the same way. But that’s not how it works.

Angelique Kerber of Germany became number one in women’s tennis and then her game took a downturn. Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg resigned after winning his title, citing the enormous pressure he faced before races and the resulting loss of sleep. Enough was enough.

Success comes at a high price. You spend all this time preparing for something; you want it with every bit of your heart and every bit of your soul. With every cell of your body, you want to achieve your objective and you want to be the best. And then once it’s done, when you get there, you hit a wall. This is inevitable and natural: the body must ultimately respond to the pressure. You lose energy. You lose concentration and the ability to stay alert. This power slump is just as extreme as everything you went through at the other end of the curve. It can take quite a bit of time to absorb a victory, and everyone has to do it in their own way.

Is that why you’ve recruited a number of younger players – to pull off the feat again?

As a coach, one thing is clear to me: it’s difficult to repeat a victory at this level with the same recipe, the same team, the same people.

So world champions need to redefine themselves?

Football is constantly moving forward as countries learn from their results and improve their skills. Over a cycle of two or three years, you need new people, new blood. Mixing things up can prove to be fruitful.

You have recruited a total of 94 rookies throughout your career as head coach so far. How long does it take for you to know whether a young player is destined to be one of the best?

Well first of all, I like to experiment. If it works, good. If not, move on. You can make a judgment on a 20-year-old’s talent and willpower, but it’s hard to say what the future will hold. After they’ve played some good matches, there are a number of external factors that can affect what happens next: they become famous – everybody wants something from them, they’re offered new contracts. Before all that happened, they were able to simply concentrate on football. I can tell you from experience that some players fall down a hole at this point. Some of them get back on their feet, others don’t. Our standards are high – in fact, they don’t get any higher: we want to be the benchmark in international football. That’s why we’re always focused towards the best.

The best never stop wanting to learn. Do you agree with the saying, “the best never rest”?

Absolutely. For me, it’s important to know whether a player is willing to progress and to learn, whether they are willing to do more than is expected of them. Many younger players exhibit a really high level of professionalism. They give a lot of thought to their own performance, all day, every day. And one change I’ve noticed over my 12 years as head coach is that players today are more willing to learn than the generation before. Where some things used to be rather set in stone, the current generation is receptive, curious and scrutinising. They ask, “What else can we do? What else can we try?” And they’re capable of quickly executing new things too – that’s also important. They receive top-notch training at the club boarding schools and at performance centres, as well as a proper education at the academies – they learn how to learn.

You often talk about a plan that players need to follow. Where do you see room for improvement for yourself?

Oh there are plenty of things I could do better. Just like everyone else.

But, Mr Löw, you have won titles both at the World Cup and the 2017 Confederations Cup!

I take care not to develop tunnel vision in my job. I like to see the sport from a bird’s-eye view: I watch matches in other countries and send my coaches and scouts South America, Africa and Asia. How do teams train in other countries? How do they prepare their players? Is there anything that we haven’t seen before? Sometimes it’s just an observation or two that makes it into our training programme.

What keeps you going after all this time?

Probably the simple fact that I love doing what I do. I grew up with football, and I wasn’t able to fulfil my hope of a great career as a player. When the national team is together, I enjoy being there every day. And the players should feel good too – that creates the best results. I want to help them keep their inner flame alight and show them how to love what they do. That’s what keeps me going. Football is my life.

What makes your team so special?

We’ve made major progress in our game over the last few years. These days we play with a certain ease and creativity that allow us to keep pace with teams like Brazil and Spain. We used to have to face them with fight, commitment and willpower, but these are the new requirements for the job. After all, if you want to be a maths professor, you should be able to solve one times one. Above all though, our players have strong characters: they never give up and have developed winner mentalities.

Who will be the toughest rival for you at the World Cup in Russia?

Argentina has Lionel Messi and a number of other good players. France has progressed immensely in the last four, five years; they have many quick, young players who are both physically strong and technically skilled. I still regard Spain highly, and England is proving to be a worthy opponent. Just look at their youth teams’ victories.

And Brazil?

Brazil too. Especially Brazil.

Despite their 1:7 loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals? Are they not a bit traumatised?

That was obviously the biggest disaster in the history of Brazilian football. The entire country was alight with World Cup fever and the pressure on Brazil was immense. They sunk deeper and deeper into themselves with every goal we scored. Initially the Brazilians were in a state of shock – but they turned it around. They told themselves: “We never want to go through that again.” With a new coach and new players, they are a completely different team than they were three years ago. Brazil has always had great footballers with technical finesse, but now they’re in a position to work hard for success. We saw them play a few times in the qualification and observed how disciplined they were. Brazil will be one of the favourites. There’s no question about it. It’s really remarkable, and admirable to see.

In comparison to previous years, you seem incredibly relaxed as this World Cup approaches. Is that really the case?

Experience helps. I’ve been through quite a bit, from magical moments to crushing disappointments. And I’ve learned that even those major disappointments for which you get relentlessly criticised help you to progress. It’s important to remember that disappointment is just as temporary as success, and that the sport is always moving forward.

7 March 2018
Originally uploaded on the Mercedes-Benz website. Re-uploaded here for fair review and information purposes. No copyright infringement intended.

Das Innere Feuer, Mercedes-Benz website interview, March 2018

Das alte Heizkraftwerk in Berlin-Mitte wirkt im Innern wie eine Kathedrale. Massive Pfeiler, die im Dunklen verschwinden. Das Licht von Leuchtstäben spiegelt sich in Wasserpfützen auf dem Beton. Hier dreht Joachim Löw einen neuen WM-Werbespot für Mercedes-Benz, hier treffen wir den deutschen Bundestrainer zum Gespräch. Den Weltmeister-Trainer, den in diesem Sommer alle schlagen wollen.

Herr Löw, Sie sprechen davon, den WM-Titel nicht verteidigen, sondern gewinnen zu wollen. Das sei ein feiner Unterschied. Welches Mindset braucht eine Mannschaft, um Weltmeister zu werden?

Joachim Löw: Es braucht vor allem eine immens große psychische Robustheit. Wenn man sich mit den Allerbesten misst, muss man sich darauf einstellen, dass es unglaubliche Widerstände geben kann. Viele Spiele laufen auf des Messers Schneide, ein einziger Fehler kann das Ende bedeuten. Deswegen beginnt unsere Arbeit nicht erst ein paar Tage oder Wochen vor einem Turnier, sondern wir beschäftigen uns permanent damit.

Sie haben einmal gesagt, es bedurfte für alle einige Zeit, um den WM-Titel 2014 zu verdauen und wieder „detailversessen“ zu werden. Wie haben Sie dies erlebt?

Es war ein langer Prozess. Der Kern unserer Mannschaft ist ja seit 2010 zusammen. 2012 sind wir nach dem Halbfinal-Aus bei der Europameisterschaft gegen Italien beschimpft worden. Wir haben damals Fehler gemacht, wir mussten aus diesen Fehlern lernen. Dazu kommt die enorme Emotionalität eines Turniers. Du hängst alles rein, du bist fokussiert, du bist zielorientiert, als Einzelner, als gesamtes Team. Das ist eine körperliche Anstrengung, die an die Grenzen führt. Gleiches gilt für den mentalen Bereich. Und dann gewinnt man alles. Man wird gefeiert. Überall. Egal, wo man hinkommt. Das macht wahnsinnig Spaß.

Bis?

Bis es nach ein paar Wochen wieder von vorne losgeht. Du beginnst bei null. Und du weißt zwar, die Erfolge von gestern zählen nicht. Du bist trotzdem noch auf dieser Euphoriewelle, und die Gefahr besteht darin zu denken, es läuft alles von alleine. Aber so ist es nicht.

Die Deutsche Angelique Kerber wurde Nummer eins des Damentennis und brach dann ein. Formel-1-Weltmeister Nico Rosberg trat nach seinem Titelgewinn zurück. Er habe vor den Rennen mitunter nicht mehr schlafen können, so groß war der Druck. Das halte man nicht lange aus.

Der Preis des Erfolgs ist schon groß. Du bereitest dich auf etwas vor und du willst es mit deinem ganzen Herzen, mit deiner ganzen Seele. Mit all deinen Körperzellen willst du etwas erreichen, willst der Allerbeste sein. Wenn es geschafft ist, fällt die Spannung ab. Das ist ganz natürlich, der Körper fordert irgendwann seinen Tribut. Man verliert Energie. Man verliert Konzentration, auch die Wachsamkeit. Dieser Spannungsabfall ist genauso wie das andere Extrem, man fällt unter das normale Niveau. Siege zu verkraften kann mitunter sehr lange dauern. Und da muss jeder alleine durch.

Haben Sie deswegen jetzt viele junge Spieler an die Mannschaft herangeführt – um wieder einen Kraftakt schaffen zu können?

Für mich als Trainer ist klar: Mit dem gleichen Rezept, der gleichen Mannschaft, den gleichen Menschen ist es schwierig, einen Erfolg auf diesem Level zu wiederholen.

Ein Weltmeister muss sich neu erfinden?

Der Fußball entwickelt sich ständig weiter. Nationen lernen aus ihren Ergebnissen, verbessern sich. Über einen Zyklus von zwei oder drei Jahren braucht es neue Leute, frisches Blut. Diese Mischung kann dann wieder zielführend sein.

Sie haben als Bundestrainer insgesamt 94 Neulinge eingesetzt. Wie lange brauchen Sie heute, um zu wissen, dieser junge Spieler wird zu den Besten gehören?

Zunächst mal: Ich experimentiere einfach gerne. Wenn es klappt, ist es gut. Wenn nicht, lassen wir es wieder weg. Man kann das Talent bei einem 20-Jährigen beurteilen, auch die Willensstärke. Es ist aber schwierig zu sagen, wie es weitergeht. Nach guten Spielen prasseln extrem viele Einflüsse auf sie ein. Sie werden berühmt, alle wollen etwas von ihnen, sie bekommen neue Verträge. Vorher konnten sie sich auf den Fußball konzentrieren, waren unbeschwert. Manche Spieler, das habe ich auch erlebt, fallen in dieser Zeit in ein Loch – die einen kommen zurück, die anderen bleiben stecken. Unser Maßstab ist ja auch hoch, höher geht es nicht: Wir wollen die Benchmark sein im Weltfußball. Deswegen orientieren wir uns immer an denen, die die Besten sind.

Die Besten zeichnen sich dadurch aus, dass sie nicht aufhören, lernen zu wollen. Stimmt der Satz: The best never rest?

Absolut. Mir ist wichtig, ob ein Spieler bereit ist weiterzukommen, ob er Dinge annimmt oder ob er Dienst nach Vorschrift tut. Viele der jungen Spieler sind sehr, sehr professionell. Sie machen sich viele Gedanken über die eigene Leistung. Und das den ganzen Tag. Und sieben Tage die Woche. Und das 360 Tage im Jahr. Da hat ein Wandel stattgefunden in meinen zwölf Jahren als Bundestrainer: Die Spieler heute sind lernfähiger als noch die Generation davor. Früher waren manche Dinge eher in Zement gemeißelt. Die Generation, die jetzt kommt, ist aufnahmefähig und wissbegierig, sie stellt alles infrage. Was können wir noch tun, was können wir ausprobieren? Und sie kann die Dinge sehr schnell umsetzen, das ist ja auch wichtig. Sie sind sehr gut geschult in den Internaten der Vereine, in den Leistungszentren, und sie erhalten in den Akademien dazu die schulische Ausbildung – sie lernen zu lernen.

Sie sprechen oft von einem Plan, den die Spieler verfolgen müssen. Wo können Sie selbst noch besser werden?

Oh, ich kann noch in vielen Bereichen besser werden. Wie jeder andere Mensch auch.

Herr Löw, Sie sind Weltmeister, haben 2017 auch den Confederations Cup gewonnen!

Ich schaue immer, dass ich in meinem Beruf keinen Tunnelblick entwickele. Ich will den Fußball aus der Vogelperspektive betrachten, schaue mir Spiele in anderen Ländern an, schicke meine Trainer und Scouts nach Südamerika, Afrika, Asien: Wie trainieren andere Nationen, wie bereiten sie ihre Spieler vor? Gibt es Dinge, die wir noch nicht gesehen haben? Manchmal sind es nur ein oder zwei Beobachtungen, die wir einfließen lassen.

Was treibt Sie noch an, nach all der Zeit?

Wahrscheinlich dies: Mir macht das, was ich tue, unheimlich Spaß. Ich bin als kleiner Junge mit Fußball aufgewachsen und hatte als Spieler nicht die ganz große Karriere, die ich gerne gehabt hätte. Wenn die Nationalmannschaft zusammen ist, bin ich jeden Tag gerne da. Und auch die Spieler sollen sich wohlfühlen – um die besten Leistungen bringen zu können. Ich will bei den Spielern ein inneres Feuer entfachen. Ihnen vermitteln, die Sache zu lieben, die man tut. Das treibt mich an. Mein Leben, das ist Fußball.

Was ist die besondere Qualität Ihrer Elf?

In den letzten Jahren haben wir spielerisch enorme Fortschritte gemacht. Jetzt haben wir auch diese Leichtigkeit, eine Kreativität, die es uns selbst gegen Brasilien oder Spanien ermöglicht, spielerisch mitzuhalten. Früher mussten wir dies mit Kampf, Einsatz, Willen ausgleichen. Aber das sind heute Grundvoraussetzungen für den Job. Jemand, der Mathematik- Professor sein möchte, sollte ja auch das Einmaleins beherrschen. Vor allem haben wir Spieler, die charakterlich richtig gut sind, nie nachlassen und eine gute Gewinner-Mentalität entwickelt haben.

Wer ist denn für Sie bei der WM in Russland der härteste Rivale?

Argentinien hat Lionel Messi und eine große Qualität in der Breite. Frankreich hat sich wahnsinnig entwickelt in den letzten vier, fünf Jahren, schnelle, junge Spieler, physisch sehr stark, auch technisch. Spanien schätze ich immer sehr, in England entwickelt sich etwas, da muss man nur auf die Titelgewinne der Jugend-Teams schauen.

Und Brasilien?

Auch Brasilien. Gerade Brasilien.

Trotz des 1:7 im WM-Halbfinale gegen Deutschland, blieb da kein Trauma zurück?

Ganz klar, das war das größte Desaster, das Brasilien in seiner Geschichte des Fußballs erlebt hat. Das ganze Land war im Fieber, der Druck für Brasilien war unmenschlich. Bei jedem Tor von uns sind sie in sich mehr zusammengesackt. Die Brasilianer waren danach in Schockstarre – aber dann haben sie alles auf den Kopf gestellt. Sie haben sich gesagt: So eine Schmach wollen wir nie mehr erleben. Seit drei Jahren ist diese Mannschaft, mit neuem Trainer, neuen Spielern, eine ganz andere Mannschaft. Brasilien hatte immer gute Fußballer, tolle Techniker, aber jetzt sind sie auch in der Lage, für den Erfolg hart zu arbeiten. In der Qualifikation haben wir sie einige Male beobachten lassen, sie spielen sehr diszipliniert. Brasilien wird einer der großen Favoriten sein, keine Frage. Das ist bemerkenswert und bewundernswert.

Im Vergleich zu früher wirken Sie vor dieser WM erstaunlich entspannt. Trügt das?

Da hilft die Erfahrung. Ich habe schon so vieles erlebt. Magische Momente, wahnsinnige Enttäuschungen. Und ich habe festgestellt: Auch große Enttäuschungen, nach denen man heftig kritisiert wird, helfen, dass man sich weiterentwickelt. Man muss den Erfolg einordnen, dass er vergänglich ist, man muss aber auch die Enttäuschungen einordnen, dass sie vergänglich sind. Weil es immer weitergeht.

7 March 2018
Originally uploaded on the Mercedes-Benz website. Re-uploaded here for fair review and information purposes and to allow use with an online translator. No copyright infringement intended.

Löw to continue as Germany Head Coach, 03.07.2018

Joachim Löw has confirmed that he will continue in his role as Germany head coach during personal talks with senior DFB officials, saying th...