The European Championships are getting closer. Joshua Kimmich, Toni Kroos, Timo Werner and Florian Neuhaus spoke to the media ahead of Germany’s final friendly ahead of the tournament against Latvia on Monday evening (20:45 CEST). DFB.de provides a summary.
… lifting the Champions League with Chelsea: It’s the nicest thing you can win in team sport, and we did it. It was a fantastic experience and a fantastic performance from the team in all areas. Of course, that gives you confidence. We have a lot of Champions League winners in the national team here. It's great to be able to call ourselves that now and to come here with our heads held high. Many players in the squad have won trophies this season; it's good for the whole team.
… competition within the squad: When you come here after winning the Champions League, of course you want to play. But we have a lot of depth and a lot of the players have already won the Champions League, maybe even several times. Everyone who gets picked gives their all, and whoever doesn't supports the others. That builds a team spirit that can carry us through the European Championship. Everyone is needed.
… the friendly against Latvia: For us Chelsea players, it's a matter of settling into the squad. The friendly is very important to help us get into the swing of it. The rest of the squad have already trained five or six days more than us, which can have a difference. Now we have to get back up to the workload. The friendly will help us get match practice.
… Germany’s chances at the EUROs: That's always difficult to say before a tournament. I think we all agree that we have what it takes to be in with a chance of lifting the trophy. However, we haven't always shown our full potential in the past few games, but quality is definitely there in our squad. We just have to turn that potential into a team that can perform. Potential alone is just theoretical. We had a lot of potential at the 2018 World Cup, and we know how that went. We need to be more of a team, and then a lot more is possible.
… the Germany U21 team that has reached the EURO final: The U21s have surprised people a bit of a surprise and in general always play do really well at the European Championships. We're really pleased that they've performed so well. We are keeping our fingers crossed for the boys. It's a good thing for German football when the U21s are doing well.
… Hansi Flick’s praise saying that he could win World Player of the Year: I'm not a player who goes out onto the pitch and sets that as a big goal. My focus is always on us being successful as a team. Especially with the national team, we have big goals. At FC Bayern, I won the Champions League, but with the national team, apart from the Confederations Cup, I've unfortunately not been able to win any major trophies. That's the big goal now.
… his feelings ahead of the EUROs: Everything looks good with regard to the will and the intensity in training, but that doesn't guarantee for a successful tournament. It's important that we're better tactically than in the last few games. When the tournament starts, we'll be able to see if what we've worked over the past two weeks is working. When it gets to our opening game against France, there'll be no more room for experiments. It will be difficult.
… his club teammate Karim Benzema, who has returned to the French national team squad: We’ve been playing together for seven years. He definitely strengthens the French side. They already had a number of world-class players, and now they’ve got one more.
… his fitness level after the Coronavirus infection: I’m doing well. I've been training for almost six days now. At the beginning, it was a mix of individual training and team training. I'm not worried about my fitness. It's not as if I'm coming off a six-week injury, I just didn't do anything for a week; you can deal with that.
… the friendly against Latvia: It's an important game because it's the last game before the start of the European Championship. Everyone wants to perform to their best once again. We see this as an important game and definitely want to win.
… the tough group with France, Portugal and Hungary: This draw can also be an advantage. Nobody really knows where they stand. We want to show that we're on it right from the start, so I see it more as an opportunity.
… his chances of appearances with the national team: You always want to look for your chance. My aim is to perform as best as possible in training and in matches. We'll see what that comes to, but at the end I want to be able to say that I always gave my all and that I can't make any criticisms of myself. In the end, the head coach will decide. I'm not thinking too much about my role, I just want to be ready when I'm needed.