Saturday’s international friendly in Klagenfurt against Austria will be national team Joachim Löw’s last chance to see his men in action before naming his 23-man World Cup squad. At Friday’s press conference, the 58-year-old spoke about the friendly against neighbours Austria, the World Cup preparations and the tournament itself.
... starting XI against Austria: Everything has gone to plan with Manuel Neuer - he took part in every training session and hasn’t experienced any problems. I’m planning for him to start in goal. I want to speak to Manu again tonight, and if everything is okay then he’ll play. Jerome Boateng isn’t fit yet, Toni Kroos will only arrive here on Saturday. I’m leaving Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller here, I know what they can do, the rest will go to Klagenfurt. Mesut Özil, Sami Khedira and Ilkay Gündogan didn’t play much towards the end of their domestic campaigns and need to find their rhythm.
... Nils Petersen: Nils will get the chance to play in Austria – whether that will be in the first or the second half I don’t know yet. My impression has been that he’s kept improving over these last few days. He showed in both games against the U20s that he’s flexible and quick, that he can receive the ball and contributes well defensively. He even sometimes moves out wide – I’m very pleased with him.
... the imminent decision regarding the 23-man squad: I’m completely relaxed about it. Naturally we’ll have heated discussions about it – it’s not a nice feeling for us making the final decision; we consider the pros and cons, what could happen in a tournament and how we could fill the positions, then we make the decisions. I’ll talk to the players on Monday morning then we have until midday to submit the squad to FIFA. Sometimes there are certain arguments for or against; sometimes it’s a gut feeling. Obviously not being picked his disappointing for the individual players – these decisions aren’t easy for us to make. Their worlds collapse in a way when they’re not chosen, it’s a huge disappointment. Not everything comes depends on Saturday’s game, but it will obviously influence the final decision. I plan to use all my substitutes, I might even make a change during the first half. The game itself isn’t the be-all and end-all, though.
... Manuel Neuer’s chances: He impressed in the games against the U20s, and we’ll assess the situation with the coaches on Sunday. Manuel will give us his opinion honestly and openly, whether he can play to the best of his abilities. We will then make our final decision regarding Manuel Neuer on Sunday.
... Marc-André ter Stegen’s progress: I told Marc today how good his season has been. He had a few difficulties to start with in his career with us, and I think it’s impressive how he’s put that behind him and become such a strong goalkeeper with a good standing at Barcelona. He’s matured a great deal, he looks solid and doesn’t let mistakes unnerve him.
... Marco Reus: It’s been good for all of us having Marco back after a long time out. For him, it’s been important to learn certain procedures. I’m taking Marco Reus as a very intelligent player, who has astounding abilities and is a clever finisher. He’s making a good impression and he’ll play against Austria. It’s important for him to get used to the team. He’s got extraordinary abilities – he’s like a rocket sometimes at training. I hope he completes the training sessions over the next few weeks without any problems, then we can all look forward to seeing Marco at the World Cup.
... Austria: Austria are a really good team. Four wins in four under Franco Foda’s management, including against Uruguay, speak for themselves. Austria are flexible and have a good structure: It will take a lot to beat them.
... technical innovations: I do think the headset could be important for us – one coach would always be in the stands. With the headset it might be possible to make a few changes during the first half if necessary. That is a step that could help us in some phases of the game, but until now we have always coped with getting the reaction at half time.