After opening their EUROs campaign with a 1-0 defeat against world champions France, Germany will now face the defending European champions Portugal on Saturday (18:00 CEST). Despite the defeat, both the team and the coaches are remaining optimistic. Defenders Emre Can and Matthias Ginter spoke to the press from the team’s home base in Herzogenaurach about the situation and the upcoming opponents. DFB.de has put together all the key answers from the press conference.
...reasons for optimism: I’m optimistic because we have an awesome team and we have quality too - I think we've shown that in parts. It wasn’t our worst game. There were small touches that were missing. We can be even better though, and we believe in ourselves and that we can win Saturday's game.
...weaknesses up front: Everyone who plays in attack is disappointed when they don’t score. Everyone needs to have that desire to score. We need to improve in that area on Saturday and do better.
...the attitude of ‘now more than ever’: As players, we came up with this ourselves. We were all hurt because it was a painful defeat. We would have deserved a draw. You could still feel the disappointment yesterday, but the mood was a lot better today. We have to look ahead, stay positive, work hard and win Saturday's match.
...possible changes to the formation: The coach will decide if there will be any changes to the formation. We weren’t all bad against France. We were a bit too passive in attack, but we can do better even with the same formation, be braver and score goals. The good thing is that we can play with either three or four at the back. I try to give it everything in training so that I can start, that’s all I can do.
...pressure: When you have three group stage games and you lose the first, then there’s pressure. We all know that. We all experience pressure at the club level as well, and need to turn it into something positive. We’ve all been dreaming of playing at a European Championship. We can't forget to enjoy ourselves though.
...his role in the team: Of course it’s always nice when your teammates have something positive to say about you. Whether or not I’m of benefit to the team is up to others to decide. I try to make myself available through my performances in training and on the pitch, if I do feature. That’s all I can do. If I don’t play then of course I will be disappointed, but I will still always give everything for the team.
...his reaction to the game against France: We gave it everything, you could see that. We were often missing that decisive pass in the final third and failed to create any golden opportunities. France played the way we expected them to. They often allowed us certain spaces that we didn’t take advantage of. Either we were missing that final pass or didn’t manage to get a shot off because France defended well. We have to do better and the whole team has to step up. I’m optimistic that if we manage to work on these areas, that we will be able to deliver a positive result against Portugal.
...the mood within the team: To be honest, the night and the morning after the game against France were tough. We were all very disappointed. But, by yesterday afternoon we had this feeling of ‘now more than ever' - we're looking ahead and are fully focused on Portugal. We can turn things around. We're maintaining a positive energy and will go all out for the win on Saturday.
...possible changes: In the end, it’s the coach who decides. The coaching staff spend a lot of time evaluating our opponents. Of course it can happen that they sometimes ask the team, but it’s not like we would make a big fuss about it (laughs). We’re a team and want to pay back the trust they show in us.
...doubts about the formation: I feel comfortable playing both formations. It depends on the opponent and our game plan. Tactics can change as the game goes on. You can’t always depend on being able to stick to your initial plan during a game. That’s why it’s not really a big issue for me.
...Cristiano Ronaldo: I faced him with Dortmund when he was at Real Madrid. He’s one of the best strikers in the world, and has a lot of experience. We will have to be extremely alert. Portugal have a very strong attack as a whole. We’re looking forward to facing him and his teammates.
...Portugal’s other attacking options: Of course it would be a mistake to focus only on Ronaldo. They have an incredible depth of attacking players. We want and need to remain compact in defence, like against France, in order to not allow them many chances. Our scouting team is preparing us well for the match, and they have lists of every player’s strengths and weaknesses.
...set pieces: Set pieces were on the agenda again in training today. We know that we can and must improve in that regard. We did well defending dead balls against France. Up front, we had no chance. But, set pieces can be crucial in determining the outcome of a game and we want to use that to our advantage.
...the 4-0 win against Portugal at the 2014 World Cup: That’s a long time ago now, but it’s still a nice memory. I was 20 back then and it was my first major tournament. To open it with a 4-0 win against Portugal was an incredible experience. But, that’s not relevant now. Unfortunately.