With one day to go before Germany’s second group stage game against Sweden this Saturday, we spoke to head coach Joachim Löw and striker Mario Gomez in Sochi about the coming games in Group F.
… squad news: Mats Hummels will likely miss out. He has sprained his neck yesterday in training and it hasn’t got better.
… the state of affairs in camp: Physically, the team is in good shape. I didn’t feel we slacked off physically in the second half against Mexico. The loss to Mexico was a painful pill to swallow but we’ve looked back on the mistakes and put the right things in place in training. If we show our strengths on the pitch, the team will put in a good performance.
… the will to win: Our two most important weapons will be to bring more energy and have different body language. That wasn’t the confident team I know playing against Mexico. This World Cup is all about commitment and passion. Attitude plays a very, very important role. Desire on the day is the prerequisite for winning.
… tactics: We tend to play against very defensive sides. That’s nothing new for us. Against Mexico, our offensive positional play was poor. Everyone wanted to somehow be involved in every attack. That meant there was too much space elsewhere. There are games like the Mexico one where you can’t get away with that. We weren’t up to scratch in all areas of the pitch. Therefore, it was important that we spoke about all these things in the past few days. We don’t have to question our entire philosophy after one loss to Mexico. We have to make corrections and see why we made the errors we did.
… the role of favourites: As reigning World Cup holders and Confed-Cup winners, our situation is different to most. Every team wants to beat us and is even more motivated. It’s tough for us to match that hunger. That’s logical but we have to react. We have to perform. If we win tomorrow, we’ll see how the tournament pans out.
… the strengths of the opponent: You can’t prepare for certain players, you have to prepare for Sweden as a team. They have a clear unity on the pitch. They get the maximum out of all their players. They never give anything up, even when they’re behind. Mentally, they are tough and they show that. Sweden may well defend differently to how they usually do. Our style of play won’t change massively because of that but it’ll be tweaked accordingly.
… the likelihood of winning: In training, the players have already shown me their hunger to make good for the last performance but training isn’t what matters most of all. I’m certain that they’ll perform tomorrow.
… the mood within the team: The mood has got better since yesterday. We needed to make changes after the Mexico game. We’ve analysed things. At the start, we didn’t feel great but we’ve put it behind us. We’re a good side. We have to do things better that we didn’t do against Mexico.
… his chances of being in the starting XI: Being called to the press conference could be a signal but it could be a bluff. It’s like roulette – a 50/50 chance. I don’t know whether I’ll be in the starting XI.
… his views: I don’t think about what could happen and how things could do wrong. We have a strong group and we’ll win both these games.
… Sweden’s tactics: We didn’t expect Mexico to play as they did. They surprised us. Sweden will be a different challenge to Mexico. They’ll be compact and strong defensively. Maybe we’ll be surprised again but we expect Sweden to approach the game they have done in recent games.
… the experience of the team: I think you’ve seen so far in the group stages of this World Cup that experience doesn’t make too much of a difference. The supposed smaller sides have made it very hard for the favourites. Tomorrow, whoever wants the win more will get the three points – and it’ll be us.###more###