After beating Iceland 3-0 and Romania 1-0, Germany’s third qualifier for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar comes tomorrow against North Macedonia in Düsseldorf (20:45 CEST). National coach Joachim Löw and midfielder Ilkay Gündogan spoke about the upcoming opponents and the competition for places in midfield. DFB.de has summarised the most important quotes.
…the squad: We used yesterday to recover. The medical team has checked everyone over and all the players are healthy. Robin Gosens will also be able to train fully today after recovering from his injury.
…the line-up: I will wait until after the final training session to decide, however Marc-André ter Stegen will play in goal – I’ve already told the goalkeepers that. I will speak to a few players after training tonight. The final decision on who will play will be made either tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest. Ilkay Gündogan will captain the side if he starts.
…North Macedonia: I’ve looked at their team, they are extremely shrewd. I have to say that they are by no means a weaker side than Romania. They’ve got some really experienced players in their ranks. It will be tough for us to come away with the three points.
…things learned from the first two games: We’ve done many things a lot better and I’m happy with the team’s basic structure. We have been really compact and won possession back quickly against Iceland and Romania. There have been some good moments in attack too, although not all the time. We’ve played well under pressure at the back and created chances for ourselves too.
…potentially feeling sad: I’m not thinking about the fact that I’m leaving after the EUROs. All my focus is on tomorrow’s game and then the tournament itself. We have to win tomorrow’s game first.
…his successor: I won’t speak to my players about my successor – that’s a long way off. We’ve got other things to focus on right now. I said to Fritz Keller that they could listen to the players to see if they would rather play an attacking or defensive style. I don’t know if those responsible will actually do that.
…central defence: There are several other players who are pushing to get in there. Not just Niklas Süle, but also Robin Koch, who isn’t involved right now. The chemistry in this position will be important during the tournament. We’ve not been massively tested by Iceland and Romania so far, whereas we will face teams of a different calibre at the EUROs.
…the difference to the Nations League: We are playing like a team again and have been more compact, which all parts of the side profit from. The most important thing is that the players are fit for the EUROs. I said at the start: “We need to look after our players’ workloads and we must not overstate the importance of the Nations League.”
…a possible debut for Florian Wirtz: Wirtz and Jamal Musiala are both impressing in training. You can sense that they have a good future ahead of them. Depending on how the game is going, bringing Wirtz on for his debut would be nice for both him and us.
...Younes, Brandt and Draxler: I’m pleased that Amin is here, he’s impressing in some drills in training. He has a great technique especially in tight spaces. He is a player that plays in the same position as Julian Brandt and Julian Draxler, so there’s competition for places here ahead of the EUROs.
…Robin Gosens’ future: He’s really happy in Bergamo but he would be open to taking that next step. Ultimately, the club and the coach have to be right for him. He’s developed really well in Serie A. Atalanta’s coach has really high tactical expectations and Robin’s come on leaps and bounds there. One thing that makes him stand out in his position is his ability to score goals. That’s a great quality to have for a player whose main job is to defend.
…public doubts over Toni Kroos: That’s not something we’re talking about. Toni is still a world-class player with a wealth of experience and so much quality. There’s no question that he can help any team out.
…Leroy Sané’s development: Leroy’s had some great moments defensively in these two games. He won four or five balls back against Romania and a few against Iceland too. He’s really improved in this regard.
…the start of the World Cup qualification campaign: We’ve got two wins on the board, so I’m satisfied. Even though the win over Romania was hard-fought, it was still a commanding performance. Now we want the third win to keep up our 100% record.
…his role in the Germany side compared to at his club: I have more freedom here and I’m more involved in the build-up. I come deeper more often and get on the ball alongside Jo Kimmich. For my club, I’m deployed in a more attacking position which means I get in more positions to score.
…the competition for places in midfield: I’ve noticed that we’ve got some top-class players here. It can only be a positive for us to have so many great players in the centre of the park. It’s now down to the coach to get the best out of these players.
…a new mood in camp after the Spain game: It hasn’t changed that much. The game was a catastrophe, but we all went back to our clubs afterwards and we’ve had a really long break since. I didn’t have the feeling that the result was hanging over our heads. We recognised the fact that we’ve got new chances coming up.
…the chance to consistently feature at a tournament: I want to play and I’m confident enough to say that I should play too. After 2018, where I didn’t get many minutes, I have just tried to keep on doing my thing. My situation hasn’t really changed in that regard.
…Pep Guardiola taking over as Germany coach: I would definitely take him, no question about that (laughs). However, I don’t think he’s available and I wouldn’t like not having at my club anymore. I hope that Löw enjoys a special send-off.
…his memories of the 2018 World Cup: You can’t wipe out your memories. Sometimes you have bad experiences in your head and that’s not a bad thing. That way, you can learn something for the future. I always try to come to terms with experiences like that so that I can use them positively.
…coronavirus: We are tested every day. We sit in the corner of the canteen, away from everyone else. We’ve got our own van which drives just behind our team bus. We’re in our rooms a lot of the team really. It’s a very unique situation at the moment. We are trying to follow the guidelines as best we can.
…his role in the team: I’m not actively thinking about being the first name on the teamsheet, but of course I want to play, just like I have for my club in recent months. If I can contribute to our success, then that’s even better. I like leaving the pitch knowing that I’ve done all I can to help us be successful.
…his development in the Premier League: The Premier League gives me the chance to test myself against the best players in the world. I had some great years in the Bundesliga, but I felt like I needed to really challenge myself. I’m enjoying this season with Manchester City. I like the way we play football. I’ve also started scoring a few goals, which has resulted in more people noticing me.
…Emre Can’s role in the team: I think that Emre is really important to us because of his mentality and flexibility. He’s always alert in every training session and can always help fire up other players. He manages to transfer his emotions into the rest of the team. Characters like that are really important for the team. He’s got a lot of respect within the side and he could be really vital for us in the tournament.
…Kai Havertz’s development: Kai is unbelievably gifted technically. I think it’s great that he had the confidence to move abroad at his age. He’s already had many good games for Chelsea, but it’s completely normal that things won’t all come good in your first season. He’s got so much ability and he will continue to impress in the Premier League.