A rejuvenated German team took a made a strong start to their EURO2020 qualification campaign on Sunday evening as they beat the Netherlands 3-2 - Die Mannschaft’s first away win against the Dutch side since 1996. Head coach Joachim Löw spoke to DFB.de about the result.
Question: Mr Löw, how pleased are you to have begun the qualification campaign with a victory against the Netherlands?
Joachim Löw: I have to congratulate the team, because we were up against a very strong side who are probably our strongest opponents. From a footballing point of view, our first half was fantastic.
Question: What was the reason for the drop in performance in the second half?
Löw: The problem in the second half was that Holland scored very early on which affected our style of play. In the end, the team showed more fight, passion and commitment. I always had the feeling that we would be able to decide the game with a good attack or smart move. We never lost the belief that we could win.
Question: Do you feel a sense of satisfaction after some personal criticism?
Löw: I don’t see it as satisfaction. I’ve been in the job long enough to know how to deal with criticism. I can filter out criticism and don’t always see it in that way. We all had to deal with some disappointments last year, but when the team does so well, I can be happy, regardless of what has happened in the past.
Question: But you must feel relieved…
Löw: Of course I am very pleased on the inside. Today we had the little bit of luck that we haven’t had in the previous few games. Our performance showed what we can do.
Question: How important is the victory for the development of the team?
Löw: To win away in Holland in the first game is very helpful for the belief of a newly-formed team. Also, the highs and lows that they went through today help their experience. A victory like today’s helps for the coming weeks and months. However, I know that we have to keep working hard.
Question: Why didn’t Marco Reus start the game?
Löw: Marco had a slight problem with his hamstring and didn’t fully complete the final training session. Therefore, we decided we would only risk it and use him if we needed to, rather than play him for the whole game.
Question: What was the plan for the attacking three of Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry and Leon Goretzka?
Löw: We wanted to attack quite early on with three men. Offensively, it was a flexible game for those three. Serge and Leroy were fantastic. Serge was competing with Virgil van Dijk in duels all night long, and was able to maintain possession and was dangerous. Leroy too. I wanted to see Leon contribute more defensively.
Question: Has Manuel Neuer affirmed his position as number one?
Löw: Manuel made two or three fantastic saves and his distribution was very good. It was a very good performance from him.mmc/bh ###more###