On Friday (at 20:45 CEST) it begins. Germany take on the Netherlands in a grudge match in front of a sold-out crowd in Hamburg. Head coach Joachim Löw and midfielder Toni Kroos speak about the anticipation for the game against the Netherlands, the feeling in the Germany team and the possible starting eleven ahead of the qualifier for the pan-European EURO 2020 Championship. DFB.de has the comments in full.
... the squad situation: The injury to Leon Goretzka is bad news, who suffered a bruise on Wednesday in an area that has caused him problems before. He cannot play. It means that I need to think about going in different directions. Not having Goretzka available is a shame, because It's very important for a young team to gain familiarity, Now we have a situation with a couple injuries. We need to replace four or five players and fix the problem that way, but we will still go into the game with a spring in our step despite the missing players..
…The line-up: We have decided on Manuel Neuer for the game against the Netherlands, but we haven’t thought about anything beyond that. Marc-André ter Stegen will get his opportunities in the qualification process, so we are still committed to him. Leroy Sané has become a very important player after the World Cup. His games have been characterized by enthusiasm, commitment and his threat to the opposition goal. His injury is very painful for us. But we have other players who can play in his position. Leon Goretzka is unfortunately injured, but Julian Brandt has performed well in training, you can see his passion. Timo Werner at the moment is on a good run of form, and he measures himself on goals. I also have more options, we’ll just have to wait and see how the final training sessions go. Brandt and Werner are among the options.
…Serge Gnabry: He will play tomorrow, and he always plays in my team. (laughs) He is very good in multiple positions. Serge has speed and goals in his locker, and he can play on different levels, which makes it hard for the opponents to mark him. He is fit and will start against the Netherlands.
…Kai Havertz: We have managed to cover all the positions twice-over. You always know that these players coming into the team will add something to the dynamic. That is the strength of the team. Kai Havertz is fun to watch, he has played a lot of games despite his young age. He could be the player of our national team over the coming years. But he must continue to develop and get better. What we have seen is fantastic. He has bypassed playing for the U21s, which few players have managed to do. That is a huge compliment to his abilities. He can start at anytime. We will find a place for him. In the next few years he will succeed.
…The game against the Netherlands: We have already played against the Netherlands three times in the last year with all the highs and lows football has to offer. They were uniquely different games but they each had the same high level of intensity. The Dutch have played much more sophisticated football over the last two or three years. You can compare their danger and their strengths with those of Ajax. The head coach Ronald Koeman is an icon of the Ajax and Barcelona school of quick football. They have highly technical, fast attacking players who attempt to confuse their opponents by constantly changing their positions. They have fast build-up play and are constantly attempting to win the ball off their opponent and go forward. They are difficult to defend against, so we have to keep our concentration levels high. We have tactics to counter their game-plan, which I do not want to reveal.