The Germany national side are preparing for the upcoming away fixtures against the Netherlands (Saturday, 20:45) and France (Tuesday, 20:45) in the UEFA Nations League. Despite a number of players missing due to injury, the squad are remaining positive. Assistant coach Marcus Sorg, Leroy Sané and Julian Draxler answered questions at the first press conference. DFB.de has summarised the thoughts of the trio.
...his selection: I’m pleased to back in the squad and to be able to work with the players and coaching team once again. We have two good games ahead of us. The training sessions have been very good so far. I’m hoping that I get some minutes in the two games, so that I can prove myself to the coach.
...the public training: It’s great to be near the fans during training. To be able to be up and close with the national team is a fantastic experience for the young kids who turned up.
...not being called up to the World Cup squad: I was naturally disappointed, but I am more motivated than ever now. I want to enjoy my time here and carry on improving myself every day. I can accept honest criticism, positive or negative. I respect people’s opinions and will continue to try and work on myself. At the end of the day, criticism motivates me.
...his future in the national side: At the beginning it didn’t work out very well for me. I am constantly trying to get used to the tactics that the team employs. In the future I don’t want to give the coach any reason to not pick me.
...the players missing: It’s a big challenge to replace a lot of injured players in such a short space of time. But we have shown in the past that we can deal with this kind of situation. The players that we have here are all still high-class ones. We will find ways of setting up the team to get some good results.
... Jérôme Boateng’s health: We need to be careful with him after his infection. His blood levels were good yesterday so he was able to start working again. Today he completed the training session too. I would imagine that he will be available for the match at the weekend.
...Kevin Trapp pulling out: We had hoped that he would be ok in the end. Unfortunately after the most recent examinations, we knew it would be too risky for him. He has a muscular injury which is difficult to judge. We have a responsibility towards every player and their club. It was a good thing that he came to us though.
...the public training: It’s always good to do events like these. It’s great to see the kid’s happy faces; it makes it all worthwhile. We have a responsibility to connect the youth with football, so that we can raise the awareness of the national team and football in general.
... Leroy Sané: He’s always been very driven. On some occasions though, he hasn’t given us what we’ve wanted. It was such a difficult decision to leave him out of the World Cup squad. He is showing now that he dealt with this well and we hope that he can play an important role in the team now.
...the Bayern players: It’s normal that the players are experiencing their current situation. They are still so experienced and they know how to deal with success and failures. It’s massively important to have this kind of backbone to our squad, especially considering how tough the Nations League is. The pots for the Euro qualifying will also depend on the Nations League important, so we need to perform well. We need experience to fulfil our high expectations. For the Bayern players, it’s a good opportunity to get away from their daily routines and try and improve their situations. I am sure that they will use this chance and will be determined to be successful with us.
...the Netherlands: They have gone through a massive period of change and have a lot of young players, who have they integrated well – something which I like. They are once again trying to use their own tactics and play the way they want. Although they haven’t reached the last two tournaments, they have only lost against France and England. We are definitely fully focussed and motivated ahead of the game.
...the weaker attack: We can’t forget that we have played some very good attacking football in the past few years. A number of people took this for granted, but the fact is that a number of teams have been able to adapt to it and stop it. We were definitely missing a bit of fluency and creativity in our games at the World Cup. We have to be tighter at the back too. In the few training session that we have, we need to find a balance and try and work out a way of getting our attacking players into the game quicker. It will be a long-drawn process, which will require a lot of hard work. We will work step-by-step to try and meet our expectations.
…the first two days back with the Germany squad: The training is intense and you feel that we came away from this summer feeling dissatisfied with our performance. We are on our way back to our best form and are excited for the two interesting matches ahead of us.
…the World Cup in Russia: We have analysed what happened. We were too slow going forward, too calm on the ball and we didn’t win the ball back well enough. Contrastingly, France frequently won the ball when they were not in possession and then attacked at pace. For a long time, we chose to play a possession based style of football but this didn’t work at the World Cup. We’ve had to adjust our style of play and I now think that we will start scoring lots of goals again.
…the withdrawals from the squad for the two Nations League matches: That is just the way things go. The coach has a responsibility towards the clubs. However, the squad is still ready to go and we have the chance to secure two good results.
…the value of the Nations League: The World Cup and European Championship are both regarded as more prestigious tournaments. However, it is well known that our next match is always the most important match to win. We want to and have to achieve some good results to show that we are a team to be feared once again. From the moment we kick off, we have to give everything we have.