Germany showed a different side to themselves in their 4-1 win over four-time World Champions Italy than they had done in the 3-2 loss to England on Saturday. Just two months before the start of the EUROs in France (10th June – 10th July), die Mannschaft were thoroughly convincing at the Allianz Arena in Munich against their bogey team, who they had not beaten since 21st June 1995. In an interview with DFB.de, Germany coach Joachim Löw spoke about the reaction after the England game, experiments with the line-up and Mario Götze’s comeback.
Question: Joachim Löw, what is your judgement of this historic 4-1 win over Italy?
Joachim Löw: We did better than we did against England. The team was in a situation to concentrate for the entire 90 minutes and carry out the things that we had discussed with discipline and until the final whistle. We played very well.
Question: Was the partnership of Toni Kroos and Mesut Özil in defensive midfield just an experiment or is it a genuine option for the EUROs?
Löw: I just wanted to try something different. It was a risk, but if you can’t try it in a game like this, then when can you? We played with a back three, so with three central defenders we could take more risks in central midfield. But that also depends on how disciplined the more advanced midfielders are – and Toni and Mesut did that fantastically. In defence, but also in the build-up play. We had issues there against England – we were lacking numbers in the middle to be able to deal with the one-on-one situations.
Question: What did you think of goal scorer Mario Götze?
Löw: Mario deserved that and has worked hard for it. He was out injured for a long time, but he has put in a lot of extra effort in recent days and weeks. I hope that this will give him some confidence going forward.
Question: How difficult is it for you to now choose 23 players for the tournament?
Löw: It gets easier and easier now when everyone is in good form (laughs). But that depends a lot on what happens in the coming weeks. It was clear to see against Italy that some players have fought for their place.
Question: Who has particularly convinced you?
Löw: I don’t want to single out anyone in particular, but they have all done well. They all worked well in defence – all three defenders were tactically outstanding. Jonas Hector and Sebastian Rudy were full of energy on the wings and were excellent going forward. The team played with great discipline and concentration and particularly expressed their technical qualities.
Question: Italy are possible quarter-final opponents. Has this match increased your belief that Germany can beat their bogey team in a tournament?
Löw: Of course – it is important that the team has a feeling that they can beat Italy. But today’s result is not that important for the EUROs. When it really counts, the Italians will definitely play differently.
Question: Marc-André ter Stegen replaced Manuel Neuer in goal. Why him?
Löw: Marc has not been with us for a while so we wanted to see him in action again. He was a little hesitant on a couple of occasions when he was called on to release the ball, and he has to watch out for that and find an option a little quicker. But he still played well – he handled what was thrown at him today very well. He has a certain calmness and aura at the back.
Question: What does the team have to work on until the start of the EUROs?
Löw: We lost our concentration and discipline against England, and we were not convincing. It was better against Italy, but we still have to work on these things. It’s understandable that we weren’t playing to the limit the whole time, but we certainly have a chance when the team is playing well. Nevertheless, there are still a few things that are important and we have to improve, such as how the defensive performance, starting attacking moves and making runs.