The first three matches of the Nations League have been played and now the Germany national team will be looking to up the ante on Tuesday against Switzerland in Cologne (20:45). National coach Joachim Löw and Leon Goretzka sat down ahead of the game on Monday to discuss squad news and the important victory in Ukraine. DFB.de has summarised the most important talking points of the press conference.
Joachim Löw on...
...the victory in Ukraine: It was important to show that we really wanted the win, and that we made it difficult for our opponents. You could feel that before and during the game. We overcame the adversities and it was a very important win for us. We have high expectations of ourselves. When the team hasn't played together for ten or eleven months, you notice that certain things in some games are different to the way they were in comparison to last year.
...the match against Switzerland: I'm expecting concentration, more precision and courage, and better attacking play. We made a few mistakes in Ukraine, so I'm expecting better in the final third, because our play was lacking quality in certain phases. Speed and precision are the key. It's going to be a completely different game to the one against Ukraine. The Swiss team are very good defensively and defend with a high line. They are very good at using the space and also in one-on-one situations. They only lost to Spain because of an individual error, and they're very good going forward. They also work well as a unit. They're a team that are up there with the best in the world as a result of years of good training and of promoting talented individuals. Switzerland are always developing and are a tough challenge for any opponent.
...squad news: Timo Werner is match-fit and ready to play. There are no signs that he cannot play. We do have a couple of players we aren't sure about at this stage, but we're under the assumption that everyone will be able to train. Draxler has a small issue with his Achilles, Halstenburg with his adductors, and Klostermann has a problem with his knee, but that's it.
...the debate about tactical set up of the team: I understand the debate. Our idea of the game has no place for a rigid system - we want to play dynamic football and make the best use of the space. What's important is who we put in each position and what they bring to the role. That's the key to playing dynamic football. It's always when we use the space effectively that we play at our best. That's always what it's about. It's not whether we play three or four at the back, but how the defenders play - they all have to be active. When we play four at the back and use our full-backs to attack, then Toni Kroos will have to drop back. These are basic principles that we have to follow and we have to become better at that. In a three-man defence, we need to be looking for stability and to be strong through the middle. Most of the players are used to a four-man defence with their club, and we can play like that. It isn't a problem to switch to that, but what I want is to have another option for when we play at big tournaments. I want the team to be prepared for playing with a back three or a back four, so that we can be as flexible as possible and we can decide game-by-game at the European Championship.
...the recent criticism from the media: People have different opinions in football and experts always have to give theirs. That's fine by me and it's not disrespectful for them to do so. They should express their thoughts. It would be boring if everyone had the same opinion. It's important as well that we can be critical of each other. We sit down sometimes for hours and discuss what can be improved, and we're very self-critical when we do this, but this isn't working so well at the moment and we need to improve on that. Over the summer, we put a lot of thought into what our next steps should be. We have to see the big picture. The coronavirus pandemic was naturally a big set-back, but we're convinced of our plan. We want to create a young, hungry, and highly-motivated team who have the physical and mental capacity to be successful in a big tournament. Then we have the opportunity to do well next summer, and in the World Cup after. I'm convinced of that. I don't value results above everything else. They're obviously important, but the development of the team is more important.
...a milestone for Toni Kroos: It is a happy coincidence that he will earn his 100th cap here in Cologne. Those who have worked with Toni in recent years have seen a constant development between 2010 and now. The class and consistency that he shows is unique. Regardless of what match he plays in, he has never shown any sign of nerves. He trusts in his own abilities and that is one of his greatest strengths. Before the World Cup final against Argentina, I saw this complete calmness in him. He said that it was a match like any and he showed no nerves at all. He is coolness personified, he trusts himself. He has this self-confidence that shines from him. He takes on responsibility; he never shies away from it. He is a vital cog in the team.
...the Kroos/Kimmich midfield partnership: They have had a really good understanding right from the start. They are both such good footballers and they're always looking to receive the ball. They're important players for linking up the play. Jo brings the attributes that he has gained from playing in defence - he has played in nearly every position on the pitch! He brings tough tackling, an ability to win the ball back and great defensive positioning. They complement one another really nicely; when Kroos joins in with the attack, Jo covers him. They both want the ball and are always available, even under pressure. They don't lose the ball very often and are always finding solutions for the team.
...Leon Goretzka: I have allowed him to roam forwards a little more than before, as he has the quality to arrive from deep. He is always good to come up with important goals and he's really valuable for us. He has a great ability to assert himself on a game and he has developed really well. He came out of the break stronger than ever and is in a really good rhythm right now. He is a really dynamic player with good technique. He poses a goal threat but can also do really good defensive work. All of that makes him valuable to us and we can't do without him. He is also really popular with the squad.
Leon Goretzka on...
...analysing mistakes after the match against Ukraine: We have to improve the things that didn't go so well last match. We made a surprising number of mistakes with our passing - technical mistakes. But we do have players in the side who are capable of playing in tight spaces without making any errors. We have to do better at that in the next match.
...the match against Switzerland: We are facing a team that is physically strong and has fast players. That's what we have to defend against. Above all though, we have to worry about our own game. I'm extremely confident that this next match will be an improvement.
...motivation to play for Germany: When I pull on that Germany kit, it feels unbelievable. I get the feeling that I am playing for 80 million people, which is something really special. We all take that into the match.
...the debate between a back three or a back four: Every system has its pros and cons. At the end of the day, it's the manager's job to work out which system works against which opponent.
...Toni Kroos: We don't need to discuss his quality. He has won nearly everything - fittingly, he's only missing the European Championship from his trophy cabinet! He will give everything to get his hands on it. I'm really happy for him to be playing his 100th international match. He's not your typical, aggressive leader, but he's our anchor out there on the pitch. He always wants the ball and he always finds a way through. That is really, really impressive. He is incredibly important for us in tournaments, as he is somebody who knows how to win titles. He is there for the team in tough situations. That's something that I would like to bring to my own game.