The defending World champions kick started week two at the Eppan training camp with a Monday morning training session, with Jerome Boateng completing an individual session in the fitness tent. Champions League winner Toni Kroos of Real Madrid will join the team in South Tyrol on Saturday, thereby completing Joachim Löw’s 27-man preliminary squad. Julian Draxler and Antonio Rüdiger spoke to the press about the training camp so far.
...the 2018 World Cup compared to the 2014: In 2014 I was still very, very young and was going through a difficult phase at Schalke. Now I’m more mature, I’m a better player and I have a lot to offer the national team. I’ll show the manager that I’m prepared and I’m confident I’ll get a lot of game time – I’ve played a lot of good games for the national team in recent years. The boss can trust me. I know we’re doubly well equipped in every position.
...Mission ‘Retain the World Cup’: The last tournaments have shown that it’s not easy to defend the title – that has to serve as a warning to us, but we are prepared and have to keep being hungry for success, as the boss has already said. We have to give even more than 2014. Psychologically, we’re at the right level – I believe in this team and our desire to win.
...the friendlies against the Germany U20s: The coach has already said that two teams will play 30 minutes each. The U20s have been briefed to simulate our group stage opponents, so they’re to press high at times and sometimes sit deeper. It’s good for us to get this kind of match practice and not just play against one another at training.
...the goalkeeping question: All the goalkeepers have their own qualities to offer: Marc has had an outstanding season at Barcelona, but Manu has done an awful lot for the national team over the years – if he’s fit, there’s no way past him.
...his development since playing abroad: In terms of personal development and as a player, it can only be beneficial. I can only recommend everyone to take that step to go abroad, because you can learn a lot, and you can make that work to the national team’s advantage.
...his chances of being at the World Cup: To be honest, I’m very relaxed about the whole thing. I know I’ll be ready, and so does the coach.
...Mission ‘Retain the World Cup’: It’s not easy to defend the World Cup title. Everyone’s had a long season, but now we’re together, and we have time to build up our strengths to try and go a long way at the World Cup.
...his development since playing abroad: I dared to make the move to Italy, which was also important. I’ve learnt a lot from a tactical perspective, and also a new language.
...the conditions in South Tyrol: The conditions here are extremely good. We’re not left wanting anything, and everyone is committed.
...the 2017 Confed Cup win: We topped off a very good year with the Confed Cup win. We had a young team, an ambitious group of players, everyone played well. I have only positive things to say about it.