Who’s starting against Brazil? What relevance does the 7-1 win in Belo Horizonte four years ago have? Germany head coach Joachim Löw gives us a little glimpse of his starting XI for Tuesday night’s friendly in Berlin’s Olympiastadion and shares his thoughts on the legendary semi-final four years ago. He was joined in the press conference by Jerome Boateng and Matthias Ginter – DFB.de were in attendance to jot down the important quotes.
...the importance of the game: Both games are of great significance – they’re both tests against teams at the highest level, as we saw against Spain. When you analyse the game, you see that both teams had an unbelievably good pass-completion rate, which in itself tells us an awful lot. I think the same can be said for our next opponents as well: Brazil have transformed in recent years and are back to their old strengths. We are very pleased to get oppositions like this and can learn a lot from them.
...the semi-final at the 2014 World Cup: That’s much more of an issue in Brazil. It was obviously a very enjoyable game, but just a step to the World Cup title at the end of the day. The very next morning all our focus was already on the final and beaten Argentina.
...personnel: Marc André ter Stegen will definitely be rested, he’d already had knee problems before so they definitely need a few days’ rest. Depending on how the game unfolds, Kevin Trapp and Bernd Leno will play a half each. As for who else starts, we’ll have to wait and see. Marvin Plattenhardt, Ilkay Gündogan and Leroy Sané will start, as I’ve already said, but whether Sami Khedira can play is doubtful – he’s been having some muscle problems. He will participate in the final training session, but we won’t be taking any risks. He will tell me honestly after the session whether he is able to play.
... Leroy Sané and Ilkay Gündogan: Both have made excellent progress in Manchester – Ilkay hasn’t had any major injuries since the start of the season and we all know him from the years before his injury as someone who always helped the team play nice football. Leroy Sané made the right decision in going to Manchester City – he can really show his quality in that team; he’s an outstanding one-on-one player and I hope he can show this in tomorrow’s game, show his unpredictability.
...German philosophy: That’s been another development: If everything was still how it used to be, Brazil would win every World Cup – no other country has such a high volume of individual brilliance. In Germany we’ve always lived off our fight, commitment and our unwavering desire to win, and we still have that, but we have needed to develop in other areas. Today, Germany stands for creativity and a clearly attack-orientated footballing philosophy.
The opposition and their individual brilliance: You can’t compare players one-to-one; every player has his own strengths and weaknesses. Every player in Brazil’s team is outstanding on the ball, but we now have players that are equally good. I think Brazil have become a team again, a team in which everyone has their role, without a single superstar enjoying his own freedom. Even Coutinho and Neymar have integrated themselves into this team philosophy. In 2014 we had a fantastic team, without creating a superstar. Everyone was strong in their position and played to their strengths – generally, a good team performance is always to be held in higher regard than individual brilliance. If top players don’t integrate in a team, it will be difficult for that team to win anything.
The game against Brazil in his hometown of Berlin: This game is a big deal for me: Brazil are one of the best teams in the world and we are pleased to be playing against them. It will be a great test of our abilities, a chance to see where we stand. It always helps us make progress playing against strong opponents. For me personally, it’s something very special: As a young lad I would dream of playing against Brazil in the Olympiastadion. I am so happy to be able to play in this game.
...Experiences off the pitch during the 2014 World Cup: The people of Brazil were extremely friendly, very likeable – it was a great experience for all of us. We learned a lot about the culture, the cuisine and the language. To leave with the World Cup trophy rounded off an amazing experience.
...Joachim Löw’s tenure: I see it as a real positive – the team has been very successful with him as the manager; we’ve kept on developing further under him. He’s a very open person; we can speak to him about anything. We all trust him and he trusts us. He has done and continues to do a fantastic job.
...the 22 game unbeaten run: As a team, we always want to win, whether it’s a friendly, a World Cup qualifier or at a tournament. This will be the case tomorrow as well, but most importantly, we need to play well and try to win so we can learn things about our game.
…his criticisms of the game against Spain: There is always room for improvement, in every aspect. Against Spain, for example, our pressing game didn’t work. We want to be successful this summer, so we definitely need to address things like this. That’s better than putting it to one side – then we’ll all feel stupid if it comes down to that.
...competition within the Germany squad: We have excellent players. I think the Confed Cup and the international games after that did me a lot of good. I try to develop as a player, here and at my club. I always do everything I can to improve and impress with my performances.
...player salaries professional football: It’s not a major issue in the team. Someone’s attitude towards this depends on what kind of person they are. High salaries compared to other jobs aren’t a new discovery. It’s down to every individual to contribute to society – I started a foundation recently.
...the flexibility of the Germany squad: That has its advantages, because it allows us to prepare differently depending on the opponent and never be too predictable.