The Germany national team were just a few seconds away from the perfect start to their Nations League campaign. Despite Spain snatching a 1-1 draw with a late equaliser, Joachim Löw put the result to the back of his mind and was instead pleased with the performance after ten months without international football.
Question: Joachim Löw, what are your thoughts on the 1-1 draw with Spain to begin the new edition of the Nations League?
Joachim Löw: In the end, we are all a little disappointed. But I also have to say that our boys gave it their all. They did everything that we could have asked of them at this stage. In the first half it was a really good, interesting game. It was very intense and both teams showed the courage to go out there and play on the front foot early on. We wanted to stay solid after taking the lead, but unfortunately we just couldn’t hold on.
Question: How did you rate the performance of debutant Robin Gosens?
Löw: He played well – it’s not easy to process everything when you are making your debut. His performance impressed me; he worked hard and was really dynamic going forwards. His passing was also good and he put in some accurate crosses. I was happy with how he did.
Question: What lessons can you and your players take from the match?
Löw: There are a few things that we have to work on, obviously. We lost the ball a few times during our build up play, which is a waste of energy. Towards the end of the game we also lost a few headers in our own box – these are the little issues that I spotted. But I also spoke to the team about some things that they did really well, even better than I would have expected. It was really impressive; I didn’t expect so much after only two or three training sessions, and especially not with the current fitness levels.
Question: You now face Switzerland on Sunday. How will you approach this match?
Löw: Some of the players are absolutely exhausted. We won’t train too hard over the next couple of days as we need to ensure that we are fresh and have enough energy to go again. I must honestly say, though, that the results in the Nations League are not that important to me. I just want to see the side develop so that next year I have a team who can play their own game.
Question: Your players have a gruelling schedule ahead of them during the next few months, something which seems to make you uneasy...
Löw: Playing three games in ten days – as the players will in October and November – isn’t something I can get behind. From a sporting point of view, it makes absolutely no sense that we still have to play two friendly matches. The schedule is absolutely packed. I have always said that the players’ health comes first and, with so much travelling during the year, it can be a lot to deal with. I’m very careful and sensible when it comes to the schedule – if we don’t look after the players then we will have big problems come March, April, May. The second thing that I want to get off my chest is my anger at the decision not to allow five substitutions. Five substitutes have been allowed ever since football returned, which made a lot of sense to me. Yet they have now taken this rule away, right when we needed it most! Some of the players are on their last legs, and that is when injuries occur.