Germany vs. Italy: today at 20:45 CEST in Munich’s Allianz Arena, a classic encounter. With only hours to go, anticipation is growing. What’s the situation in the Germany team, the latest information, the newest news? Assistant manager Thomas Schneider has all the answers in this matchday interview on DFB.de.
DFB.de: Mr. Schneider, what’s the situation in the team? How big is the excitement ahead of the game against Italy?
Thomas Schneider: Everyone is looking forward to the game and everyone is very focused. This game, like the one against England, is an absolute classic. Italy and Germany have each won the World Cup four times, the fixture is rich in history and class. Both teams will be highly motivated for the game, both want to win and send out a message. After the game against England the pressure on us has not been relieved. We want to put in a good performance tonight.
DFB.de: Can you reveal any information regarding personnel? Manuel Neuer went home yesterday - who will replace him between the sticks?
Schneider: We’ve decided on Marc-André ter Stegen.
DFB.de: On Saturday Sami Khedira led the team out as captain. Who will do so today?
Schneider: Bastian Schweinsteiger is our captain. In his absence, there are a number of leaders in the team capable of filling his role. Today we’ve decided to hand Thomas Müller the armband - he will be leading the team out in his own back yard.
DFB.de: In the game against England the team lost their concentration in the last half hour, that will be different tonight?
Schneider: We were having trouble against England even in the first 45 minutes. That was largely down to how well they defended. After the restart and before they scored their first we played much better. To go back to your question: our aim is obviously always to stay concentrated for the whole 90 minutes.
DFB.de: What are you expecting from the game against Italy tonight?
Schneider: Anyone who saw Italy in their last game against Spain will have seen how strong the team is. Even when under a lot of pressure, they find solutions in the way they play - this was done wonderfully in their goal against Spain. They are tactically flexible, can adjust to several formation systems. Aside from this they live up to their classic attributes: they are clever, efficient. Italy are difficult to play against.
DFB.de: What gives you hope that Germany will win?
Schneider: Our quality. Against England, we didn't lose because our opponents were necessarily better than us. England has a good team but they're certainly not better than us. We didn't play to the best of our ability and that caused us problems. When we play as well as we can, I think we're better than any potential opponent. It's all in our hands.
DFB.de: How important is it to end the international break with a win?
Schneider: I don't want to overstate the importance of the game – the European Championship on 10th July will be decisive, not our game on 29th March. In any case, we want to end the international break with a successful result and put on a good show for the fans.