A win in a classic, a win in a game between European Champions and World Champions, a win to end the World Cup winning year of 2014. Germany manager Joachim Löw spoke to us after the 1-0 win over Spain in Vigo about the successful end to the year, the defensive performance of the team and the break until March 2015.
Question: What was your assessment of the World Champions’ final game of the year?
Joachim Löw: I think that we couldn’t have dreamed of having a better end to the year. We haven’t been very convincing in our matches recently and aren’t quite where we want to be in the European qualifying campaign. Therefore, it’s nice to end this sensational year with a positive result against a top team. The game was played in tough conditions and the pitch wasn’t in good condition. It was a successful evening.
Question: You were very solid at the back. How happy were you with your defence?
Löw: I was very happy with our defensive performance. The three centre-backs did their job very well and both wing-backs did well on the wings. We knew that Spain would play high balls into the box and therefore we had to be solid in the centre of defence, and we did that well.
Question: Did it appear to you that you were more organised going forward than in the 4-0 win over Gibraltar?
Löw: We didn’t do that very well against Gibraltar and therefore we were unhappy with our performance. Against Spain, we were better going forward, especially in the second half. We have to continue to work on that and get better at a few other things. Today was a good start and therefore I’m happy overall.
Question: You beat the European Champions 1-0. What does it mean to you to get your first win against Spain?
Löw: It’s only a side note, even though it’s obviously nice to beat the European Champions. I would have been happy with a 0-0 because even despite us missing some players, we did a lot of things well tactically. And we did it in a game between two sides, who have dominated world football over the last few years.
Question: Why did Ron-Robert Zieler get the nod ahead of Roman Weidenfeller? And what did you think of the Hannover goalkeeper’s performance?
Löw: Robert played simply because Roman Weidenfeller played a game before the World Cup. I am very happy with Robert. He made two or three great saves and made sure that we didn’t go behind. But what particularly impressed me was that he played well and in the opening stages he remained composed, so that we could safely play out from the back.
Question: How do you assess both your team and Spain ahead of EURO 2016 in France?
Löw: Both teams will play a big role at the European Championships in 2016. Spain still have some superb players, and so do we.
Question: You could have made six changes, but you only used three. What was the reason for that?
Löw: I wanted to give a few players the chance to play for 90 minutes. That’s why I only made three substitutions, although I planned to do things differently before the game.
Question: Your next game will be in March 2015. How do you plan to use the long break?
Löw: I have a few appointments but after such an amazing and exciting year, it’s nice if we can all have some rest over the winter break. In January and February, the coaching staff will meet back up with the individual players and as a coaching team, we will talk about what new approaches we will take next year.
Question: Six Germany players are among the list of 23 players nominated for World Footballer of the Year: Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Manuel Neuer, Thomas Müller, Mario Götze and Toni Kroos. Who do you think is the favourite?
Löw: I can’t say. But I hope that World Footballer of the Year will come from Germany.