2021 gets underway with a home game against Iceland on Thursday (20.45 CET). The World Cup qualifier, the first on the road to Qatar 2022, will take place in Duisburg. Germany head coach Joachim Löw sat alongside Emre Can at the pre-match press conference. DFB.de collects the most important quotes.
Joachim Löw on...
...the aims for the three qualifiers: We have to start the competition with good games and good results. We have to give a positive impression to the fans after we ended the last year with a huge disappointment in November. I expect a reaction. We have to leave it all on the pitch, that’s important. We have to show that we are a passionate team by fighting and running hard. We have to show that we have made progress.
...the strain of three matches in a week: We can’t think about that anymore, we paid plenty of attention to it last year. Now it’s about getting points and gelling as best we can. We have to use the three games to pick up wins, lay the groundwork and find some fluidity. I’m no longer thinking about how to divide our resources. We had to rotate lots last year. Right now I am just looking at the first match against Iceland and after that we will analyse the situation. Unfortunately we have the issue that Tony Kroos has had to go home and that Niklas Süle and Robin Gosens are unavailable. All three have played well recently.
...a Kroos replacement: Toni Kroos is a player who always wants to play. He was somewhat conflicted himself but the medical department said that it wasn’t possible for him to play. But we are well stocked in midfield on the whole. Leon Goretzka is quality, Ilkay Gündogan is in great form and Joshua Kimmich good as ever. Personally I rate Florian Neuhaus and how he acts in training as a young player, we are well stocked in midfield and there are still other good options.
...the exclusion of Draxler and Brandt: The door is not shut. Julian Draxler has played some games recently which was good to see after a long injury layoff. We know what kind of potential he has. He needs rhythm and game time to improve. The same goes for Julian Brandt. He has outstanding ability and can be such an important player. I hope that both react well. I will be watching them closely over the next two months.
...Iceland: Sport plays an important role in Iceland, even in the winter months. Icelandic people are renowned for their winning mentality. Regardless of how the match goes, they won’t give up. With the national team, they only have a chance by performing as a team. They are really compact and can defend very well. They play quick football and get it forward without restraint. They are really hard to play against.
...communication on the pitch: Last year, we were constantly using different lineups. That wasn’t easy and things will be different now. We will communicate out on the pitch and I will select some players to be the vocal ones. Everyone in the team needs clear instructions and clear communication. We are working on that.
...potential debuts for Wirtz and Musiala: I can’t promise that but we will see. Both know their strengths and know what they have to work on. First they have to integrate and feel comfortable here. Both are very, very young. There haven’t been many players who have been selected for Germany at the age of just 17 or 18. Both can be proud of that.
...aims for the Euros: when we go to tournaments, we want to achieve our best. In the end though there are a lot of things that are uncertain. We want to achieve the maximum but we have to be realistic too. In the knockout rounds there are things that you can’t plan for. The best advice is to get through the group stage and then take every game as it comes.
...Amin Younes: I was really pleased with him at the Confederations Cup in 2017, because he is a player who can do special things when the defence is standing firm. He is a player who needs an environment in which he feels comfortable and he has found that in Frankfurt. He has earned this selection with some good performances. He is a positive guy, he has settled in with the team right away and is well-respected.
...Ilkay Gündogan: llkay is an outstanding strategist. He always has been, but his problem was that he has suffered long-term injuries ahead of tournaments. That has cost him some international caps. Now he has stayed fit for two or three years, playing regularly. What he is now showing even more is his goalscoring ability. He has a really refined finish on him.
Emre Can on...
...the 6-0 loss to Spain: It’s been spoken about by the team. We have to learn from our mistakes, we can’t show that side again. It was a bad day. We have to analyse it as a team, draw conclusions from it and do better in the future.
...the impending departure of Löw: For me, it’s not just important that he is a good coach, but also how he is as a person. He is a great bloke and is really respectful towards everybody. I’m really grateful and I can feel the trust he has in me. It’s a shame he’s leaving after the Euros but we have to respect his decision. As a team, we want to have a successful euros for him and for the fans.
...his favoured position: I prefer to play in the middle, whether that is in midfield or in central defence. But my position is up to the coach.