Germany have moved on from Hamburg and their defeat to the Netherlands. Their full focus is now on beating Northern Ireland in Belfast on Monday night (20:45 CEST). Joachim Löw and Joshua Kimmich spoke to the press ahead of their fifth EURO 2020 qualifier, discussing lessons from Friday’s loss, changes to the line-up and the atmosphere at Windsor Park.
...the situation in the group: We have played four games and won three of them. We more or less factored in a setback somewhere along the way, but we’re still very much on course. We aim to have a positive error culture, which is important for the team’s development. I have faith in my players and I fully believe that they will give us plenty to smile about over the coming months and years. It’s obviously an important game. You have to do everything you can to follow up a home defeat with three points. Northern Ireland are top of the table, but our goal tomorrow can only be to get the win. It will be tough, however. Northern Ireland are particularly tricky at home, but our team knows just how important tomorrow’s game is.
...Ilkay Gündogan: He will be out for the Northern Ireland game. He’s had to head back home today with a cold after we got his blood work back. Nico Schulz also returned home yesterday too, so it’s not an easy situation for us. Having a lot of line-up changes in such a young team isn’t exactly an advantage. We have decided not to call anyone up though. We have enough players for tomorrow’s match.
...team news against Northern Ireland: Changes are unavoidable. We intended on starting Ilkay Gündogan tomorrow, but we’ll have to wait until after training to see how we’ll solve that. Kai Havertz is certainly an option to start. Manuel Neuer will carry on in goal. We have two possibilities to replace Nico Schulz; Marcel Halstenberg has been playing well for Leipzig, while Jonas Hector knows our system. It will be a gut decision – both of them have trained well.
...lessons learned from the defeat in Hamburg: There are certainly things I learned from the game, but I’ve decided not to talk to the team about the Netherlands match too much; Northern Ireland will provide a very different test, especially in terms of their tactics. My insights from the last game will be important for our overall journey though and the next tournament. One issue was certainly our concentration and mentality when it came to getting stuck in. Northern Ireland will be a very physical opponent, so our commitment and aggressivity in one-on-one duels needs to be higher.
...the tactical approach: Our opponents will no doubt have a lot of attacking power, much like the Netherlands. Northern Ireland play with a centre forward, so that means that we will need to set up with two centre-backs rather than three. Our opponents will also be set up more defensively.
...Northern Ireland: We’ve played against them quite a few times in recent years, including here in Belfast. The team hasn’t changed much so they have good chemistry and have no doubt developed further. They’re capable of playing the ball out from the back and try to keep the ball on the ground. The coach has been there for a long time too, so the whole system is well oiled. There will be quite the atmosphere here at the stadium too. I think Irish and Northern Irish fans are some of the loudest we’ve experienced, regardless of whether their team are winning or not. We need to be prepared for that. They will be cheering every attack and corner.
...the Northern Ireland game: We need to show a different side of our game tomorrow and deliver on the pitch. We need to play dominant football and can’t afford any more mistakes. We’ll certainly be tested on a physical level. Every game is crucial now. We have to win tomorrow. The situation in the group has changed completely. Whoever thinks that it will be a walk in the park is mistaken. We played here two years ago and were lucky that we took an early lead. We need to do that again tomorrow and kill the atmosphere a little.
...the Netherlands defeat: We know that we didn’t play well. Everyone could see that that isn’t the kind of football we want to be playing. We deserved to lose. We weren’t able to control the match. When we did have chances, they came from counterattacks. Having said that, we still ought to have made it 2-0 in the first half. It’s not the first time that we’ve allowed the Netherlands to come back against us. We weren’t just lacking guts against them though – there were a number of issues.
...Kai Havertz: Kai showed just how much quality he has last season. He hasn’t made many starts for Germany yet, but every player is capable of helping out. Us other players need to step up as well though.