The preliminary Germany squad for the World Cup in Russia, which takes place from 14th June until 15th July, has been revealed. Joachim Löw announced the 27-man squad around four and a half weeks before the start of the World Cup in the German Football Museum in Dortmund. DFB.de summarises the most important quotes about his squad decision on the mission to defend the title in Russia and the immediate preparations for the tournament, which begin on 23rd May in the training camp in South Tyrol.
...the road to the squad announcement: The day the nominations are revealed is always a bit split. On one hand, the players who have been named are over the moon. On the other hand, there’s the disappointment of the players who didn’t quite make the cut. My job as national coach is sometimes to drop a bombshell on some players’ dreams. The decision is never against a particular player, but for the overall success of the team. The nomination process is complex; we discuss individual players and positions for weeks on end. We analyse and discuss it to the littlest details and in the end it’s decided on the fine details. The criteria are clear – which players can deliver a top performance physically and mentally at the World Cup after a long season? The entire squad was selected based on piecing together a coherent overall picture. The team needs to function well together both on the pitch and off it. A message to the players who haven’t been named in the squad: you are very, very talented footballers and great guys, you were deservedly in the first team and maybe you’ll be back with us after the World Cup.
...aims for the World Cup: Of course we want to achieve as much as we possibly can. We are the reigning world champions and Confed Cup winners and we want to reach the final and defend our World Cup title. That’s our target. We have three or four important points which we’re going to focus on at the training camp. We want to show how committed we are to bringing the trophy back to Germany.
...the extent of the squad: We’ve had experiences in the past of injuries coming shortly before tournaments get underway. It therefore makes complete sense to do it like this. The final deadline is on 4th June. We want to let off a bit of steam before then.
...Manuel Neuer: The coaching team have been in contact with Manuel almost every day for the past few weeks. We’re taking four goalkeepers to South Tyrol because Manuel rejoined full training this week at Bayern Munich, which means that he can train fully with us as well. We want to assess the situation for ourselves and use the chance to observe and assess him at the training camp. We know the responsibilities we to for the team, health and the fans, as does Manuel. Is he in a position to produce the top performances we’re used to? We’ll make a final decision that on 4th June. Until then, we’ll see how it goes each day. After South Tyrol, we’ll talk openly and honestly about whether he can play at the World Cup or not. Nobody can go to such a tournament without game time – Manuel knows that. Everything is looking positive at the moment; his injury is fully healed. Manuel can cope with the full strain of training and more importantly he’s our captain. We hope that he is able to come.
...Jérôme Boateng: Jérôme is back in fitness training. In all probability, his injury will heal by the end of the training camp. He’s a player who you can’t replace like-for-like. We’re doing all we can to make sure he’ll be there.
...Jonathan Tah: He’s made great progress and shown a real improvement in his play from the back, which is why he’s earned a call-up.
...Nils Petersen: Nils has scored 15 Bundesliga goals for a team which hasn’t created that many chances. He’s made a really, really good impression on me and he’s fit to play. He’s proven that he’s an excellent super sub. I think that he can grow from this challenge. I’m expecting great things from him.
...Marco Reus: We’re happy that he’s been injury-free for the last few months. He has a special knack for finding space, he’s very creative and in great form. He can do extraordinary things and I’m expecting a lot from him. We have to be careful about how much he trains of course. We hope that he remains fit and then he can play a decisive part in the World Cup.
...Mario Götze: It wasn’t necessarily his season. Of course he’s an exceptionally quality player, but he just hasn’t found his form this season. I hope he can start over again in Dortmund after the summer break. I’m sorry for it, it was a difficult decision to make.
...Sandro Wagner: In the end, it was decided on fine details. He’s given his all in games for us and for his club and he’s a great character. We had to make a decision and that decision went in favour of other players. It was a decision for Mario Gomez and for Nils Petersen, not against Sandro Wagner.
...Emre Can: He’s been out for a while and we couldn’t select him because of that. He hasn’t played since March and as such it was too much of an unknown for us.
...the transition from club to national team: The players are in good form. Of course, we assess their performances for their clubs, but also how they perform for us. All of it goes into our assessments. Our players know our philosophy. There are also players who play a different role for their club. But the transition is always fast and smooth
...his contract extension: An early contract extension is always something special. We want to thank the association, the presidential board and those responsible for putting their trust in us. The responsibility comes with a responsibility to further develop the national team and to establish ourselves at the top of world football. It’s unbelievably enjoyable to work alongside such inspiring people. It’s definitely possible that there will be changes after this World Cup – we’ll have to wait and see. You can prepare a youthful team for a tournament in four years. That would be a lot of fun.
...Özil and Gündogan: The association let the players know that it wasn’t a good thing. Personally, I think both players are really great guys. Both have done a huge amount for integration in Germany. It’ll be a lesson for them and we’ll talk with them again at the training camp.
...the contract extension with Löw and Co.: With the DFB, we place great importance on continuity, quality and trust. Löw, his coaching team and Oliver Bierhoff embody those values. We want to draw a line in order to implement our concepts and strategies long-term. There were important questions of staff – particularly about whether there is such a trustworthy coach with such social competence in the world. We assembled in order to avoid needless talks and it didn’t take long to come to a satisfactory conclusion.
...the case of Hajo Seppelt: I want fair play from all sides; I want to see the fundamentals of the law stuck to and I want to see free speech for journalists. I spoke with FIFA president Gianni Infantino on the phone. We both of the same opinion on the issue and he has already had full-scale discussions about it. I’m confident that it will have a positive effect on Russia.
...Özil and Gündogan: People can make mistakes. You have to keep it in perspective. Both the players know that they’ve made a mistake. I only ask them to react in a moderate way. It’s important to stick to what is a very important principle for our work: integration is a key topic for German football. Thoughts on togetherness, no matter where a person originates from. It’s important to have the same policy for everybody in a team.
...German-Russian football: We have memories and have reconciled with each other. It’s important to remember in order to avoid repeat. We want to build bridges between people. We will meet the Russian people with friendliness and willingness to cooperate.
...his contract extension: There are two sides to it: it’s really enjoyable to be a part of the team; we have a lot ahead of us. The other side is the development, which has already kicked off: we’re arranging ourselves in a new way, accompanied by a spirit of optimism. We’ve reflected upon it and made it clear to the DFB.
...the World Cup Team Base Camp near Moscow: It’s perfect timing. When we arrive, the building will be finished. We’ll have optimal conditions in both South Tyrol and Russia.
...the aim for the World Cup: It will be a difficult task and a big one too; we’re aiming to accomplish something unbelievable. We know that we can only do it together. Us – together with everyone involved, including the fans. Let’s enjoy the World Cup together.
...Özil and Gündogan: The players must not have known the meaning of it. The photo had a symbolic meaning, which wasn’t intended – they both weren’t entirely clear about that. We will speak with the players and inform them of the explosive nature of the topic.