Joshua Kimmich and Timo Werner spoke to the press ahead of the all important European Championship qualifying games against Belarus in Mönchengladbach on Saturday (20:45 CET) and against Northern Ireland in Frankfurt on Tuesday (20:45 CET). They talked about their own expectations, the atmosphere in the team and the opposition’s tactics. DFB.de made a note of all the most important quotes.
... the team’s expectations: We obviously want to win both games. If we’re lucky then one win will secure qualification but we really want all six points.
... the hierarchy in the team: Every individual player has to take on more responsibility. The hierarchy will develop game by game. Anyone who has been around for a while has already climbed the ladder.
... his own role in the team: I wore the captain's armband myself recently, which was really special. You definitely feel that your individual responsibility for the team is greater.
... the changes to the back line: We have a number of options to fill the gap in the centre of defence. They all have the quality to play at centre-back for us, we will just have to see who is fit.
... Timo Werner: I’ve known Timo since we were twelve years old. He was always the top scorer growing up, no matter what year we were in. He’s on a sensational run right now and I also think that it’s incredible how many goals he is assisting. It’s rare for a striker to be so good at picking out his teammates.
... the fans: The team has a new image. First and foremost, it’s down to us to make sure that fans come to watch the games and it’s down to us to make sure we’re playing attractive football. I personally think the kick-off times are too late for families with children. We want to play consistently good football and maybe make people who stayed home regret their decision a bit.
... the atmosphere in the team: We are responsible for creating our own atmosphere. I don’t get the impression that there are any problems in the team. Of course, there are players you get on with better than others but that’s the case for everyone at work.
... playing with Leon Goretzka: We play a different system for Germany than we do for Bayern. I always like playing with Leon, whether here or at Bayern. It’s always nice to play with someone you already know well.
... the week of preparation: We’re happy that we have time for a couple more training sessions. Previously, we’ve had to make do with just one or two sessions. We now have a little bit longer to prepare and to get to know each other better in training.
... Niklas Süle: I hope he will be back for the tournament finals in the summer. That’s his goal anyway. It’s good to set yourself goals so that you know what you’re working towards. He is really positive considering what happened. I’m not a doctor so I can’t really comment on his recovery apart from that.
... Belarus: It will be a very physical game. They will want to win the ball and play on the break. If we do manage to get a big win I’d obviously like to get a couple of goals. However, that’s not the main thing. The reverse fixture was really hard work. They’re a good team that know how to defend. Nevertheless, we’re the better team and we want to show it.
... the Group C table: If we win at the weekend then that’s a big step towards qualification already. We just want to focus on ourselves.
... the team’s injury setbacks: We’ve been hit by a number of injuries. People have to step up to replace those who are out for a long time. It’s not a problem for us though because the Bundesliga and other leagues abroad are full of good German players. We don’t have a lot of time together so we have to gel quickly. But we’ve known each other for a long time so it should be fine.
... strikers’ goal tallies: Strikers seem to be scoring more and more, especially in the Bundesliga. It’s because the game is getting faster and faster and we have more chances. Teams want to play attacking football and would rather win 4-3 than 1-0. That plays into our hands as strikers.
...goal droughts: You can’t score every game unless your name is Robert Lewandowski. People notice really quickly when you’re not scoring but if you let it get to you then it just makes it worse. That’s the good thing about me – I don’t over think it.
...his ability to vary his game: Julian Nagelsmann has said that I won’t be playing as an out and out striker for him as such, but more of a false 9. It has encouraged me to improve and develop myself, even when we come up against opposition that sit deep. He has already helped me to make better use of space.