Ahead of Thursday’s friendly with Russia (20:45 CET), Germany head coach Joachim Löw has given his first thoughts to the media in his press conference.
…Marco Reus’ situation: Unfortunately, Marco Reus won’t play against Russia. He has suffered a bruised foot and a swollen ankle. It doesn’t make any sense for him to play. We will have to wait and see whether or not he will be able to play on Monday. We have planned for Marco to complete some light running training on Thursday. We will have to monitor his situation each day. All of our players are fit and in contention to play.
…Julian Draxler’s depature from the squad: We have given him compassionate leave to spend time with his family. A return for the Netherlands match is on the cards for Julian.
…a potential relegation from League A in the UEFA Nations League: We haven’t been able to qualify in our Nations League group despite our best efforts. The most important thing for me is the European Championship qualifiers next year. The next twelve months is important for us to find our best team and to become more comfortable in our style of play. We are currently going through a period of change. Our performance again France was an important pointer for things to come. The result in tomorrow’s friendly isn’t exactly relevant. What is important are the insights we take out of the match. Depending on the result on Monday, we have a chance of staying up in the group and we want to win this match. We might have placed too much importance on the Nations League. It wasn’t expected that we would play at the highest level again. Relegation wouldn’t be the end of the world as we would have the chance to get promoted straight back up again.
…opponents Russia: They're at a level similar to 2008 again. The coach's influence on the team is clear to see. They're a very disciplined side, very aggressive in defence and dangerous on the counter. They give everything they to secure good results, just as the coach would want them to. Stanislaw Tschertschessow is a disciplined coach and a fanatic regarding tactics.
…Thomas Müller’s role: An abrupt change in the national team isn’t always possible. It is a process. A good team requires a mixture of different players. A young team requires a couple of experienced players to guide the team. We have several players who can do this but we also have several young players. You have to admit that these young players won’t be as consistent in the national team. Therefore, we require a good mix. Thomas Müller is a player who provides a lot of energy and who can lead the younger players and boost them. He possesses a lot of quality. He is a player who is always in the right place to decide a match, additionally when even he is going through a bad period of time.
…the starting lineup to face Russia: Manuel Neuer will start in goal. We have a lot of different options outfield for who could play. For example, Julian Brandt is in the squad and he plays very well down the flanks. However, the three attackers who played against France also played well. We tendency would be for us to start them again. However, we will make the decision after our final training session.
…the role of the classic central forward: It would be desirable to have a top striker who can play in this role. There are only a few strikers in Europe that can currently occupy this role and we unfortunately do not currently have anyone like that. Consequently, we have to find an alternative to this role. It also doesn’t always depend on one striker to do this but instead on the various options we can apply in attack. This combination has been one of our greatest strengths in recent years.
…more debutants: We already had a young squad for the match in France. A team has to get to know each other. Young players outside of the squad are constantly watched by ourselves and the youth teams. Examples include Maximilian Eggestein and Lukas Klostermann who are both playing important roles for the U21s. I am constantly in contact with Stefan Kuntz. They are key players and this important for their personal development. However, at the moment it is important for me not to call up five or six more fringe players. The current group of players needs to perform first.
…Serge Gnabry: Serge has developed well and has been on my radar since 2014. Unfortunately he has suffered numerous injuries since then. He is currently playing well for Bayern and performed well for the national team against France. I hope he continues to stay healthy. If he continues to progress as he currently is, he could play a very important role for the national team in the near future.
…a potential place in the starting lineup: I wouldn’t have any problems with that. I would be excited to play for Germany again. We played well against France and are doing everything we can to be dangerous and to play attacking football.
…the atmosphere in the team: The atmosphere in the team is very upbeat. I feel very happy and am having fun here. There are a few us who played together for the U21s and this makes it easier to settle into the senior team.
…his pace: I have my anatomy to thank for why I can run so fast. However, as a footballer, you constantly have to work hard on your strengths. Timo Werner is also a fast player and pace is a strength for anyone. I always try to give my best on the pitch. I hope my performances contribute to me playing an important role for club and country.
…the potential relegation in the Nations League: No-one likes to be relegated. We have to hope that we still have a chance to achieve second place in the group. Irrespective of this, we want to play well on Monday night.
…his time in England: Most of all, my time in England has helped me to continue to develop as a person. This made it easier for me to go elsewhere to progress in my career. Arsenal was a top club who always gave young players their chance to shine. Consequently, it was clear at an early stage to spend some time there.