Bierhoff: "The players really want to play for the national team and to perform well at the World Cup."
The training camp ahead of the World Cup in Russia is picking up speed. Aside from Toni Kroos, who is with his Real Madrid teammates as they prepare for the Champions League final on Saturday, all the players selected to Joachim Löw’s provisional squad have now arrived in Eppan. Oliver Bierhoff sheds light on why South Tyrol was chosen as the destination for the training camp and what he thinks of Germany’s World Cup prospects, while striker Nils Petersen speaks about what it’s like being the new kid on the block.
... the training facilities in Eppan: We’ve now been here for just over two days. We chose to come to South Tyrol very intentionally, because the facilities here are of the highest quality. We’re also very grateful to the local people who came out to see us on the streets. You could really tell that everyone was really happy to have us here. The warm weather is a bonus too, as it means we are able to train outside.
... the first few sessions: Everyone is having fun, but they’re also focused and working hard at the same time. I think it’s a great atmosphere. The players really want to play for the national team and to perform well at the World Cup. We all want to achieve something special. As a team we’re aware that this is going to be a very difficult tournament, because this time we are the hunted. Every team has nothing to lose against us and will give their all to try and trip us up. The only way we’ll have a chance in Russia is if we go about our business with a high level of determination from day one. But it’s also important that we have some down time and enjoy ourselves off the pitch as well. Joachim Löw has a clear plan and vision for how the days will be structured to maximize the time that we have. We’re glad to have all the players we have selected on board, with the exception of Toni Kroos, who we will have our fingers crossed on Saturday for.
... Nils Petersen: The decision to select Nils didn’t just come out of nowhere. We’ve monitored him for a long time now. We’ve seen how he’s come along as a player - he’s lively, can think on his feet and react to what happens around him. That makes him a very useful asset. Nevertheless, it is still a litmus test and we will have to see how he does over the next couple of weeks.
... what it was like getting the call-up from Löw: I was out with some guys from Freiburg. The call from Jogi was unexpected, even if I did miss about three from him before that. I was very happy that he didn’t decide to call somebody else. (laughs) Being named in the provisional squad came as a complete surprise.
... his first few days with the team: I’ve felt really at home from the beginning, helped by the fact that I already know a few boys from the Olympics a few years ago. It’s not necessarily a new experience for me, but it’s definitely something special to be another Freiburg player that has been selected to play for their country.
... the standard in training: It’s a step up. You have to push yourself to your limits every day here, which is good as it helps you to improve.