The first training sessions in Eppan are complete and Joachim Löw is already feeling confident for the World Cup in Russia. The Germany head coach spoke to the press on Thursday afternoon about the latest on captain Manuel Neuer and Jérôme Boateng, plus much more.
...Manuel Neuer: He needs to complete the sessions and show that he isn’t suffering from any problems whatsoever. He is well aware of his responsibility to both the team and his health. He trained fine with Bayern and is fully on board here too, showing he is capable of dealing with the intensity. We will take things one day at a time and will continue to discuss the matter with him. If he feels like he can play at 100 percent, then he will be in the squad. If not, we need to talk about other options. As of today, there are no problems, even with the more strenuous work like jumping and diving. Things are looking positive.
...Jérôme Boateng: We’re still not 100 percent sure whether Jérôme will join up with the squad on Friday or not. He will undergo a final examination in Munich, and then we will decide whether or not he will travel tomorrow or in a few days. He has completed some sessions, is doing running exercises and is almost able to push himself to the limit physically again. It’s a muscle injury, so we don’t want to make any mistakes. He is always under observation by the medical staff at Bayern and he is on track. I won’t put a definitive timeframe on anything, but he should be able to complete parts of team training next week.
...building the training intensity: We have 19 players at the moment – 16 outfield players and three goalkeepers. I spoke to almost everyone on the phone in the last week, and I offered the players who played on the weekend the chance to join up two days later. Most of them said yes, but Sami Khedira and Julian Draxler wanted to arrive with the rest of the squad on Wednesday. The first few days will be more focused on individual work; our job is to get those players who have had varying workloads in the past weeks all on the same level. The plan is to move onto tactical and team elements on the weekend.
...the final World Cup squad: We will sit down before the deadline and discuss it. We haven’t said to anyone that they’re only here provisionally. Everyone should have the same chance to make the squad and we don’t want to unsettle anyone. We need to wait and see if any injuries happen, which the past has shown us is a possibility. We will play against the U20s on Monday and Wednesday. We need to have balanced options for every position. We’ll wait and see what happens. At a pre-World Cup training camp like this, every player is fully motivated and wants to prove that they deserve to be here. A decision won’t be made until close to the deadline.
...his first impressions of Eppan: Huge credit to the whole of South Tyrol. They have really put an exceptional setup together here. Everything we requested has been implemented perfectly. We were here in 2010 and 2014 and feel very much at home. We have excellent conditions; the hotel is great, and it’s very close to the pitch, which is in great shape. We’re well equipped to prepare optimally for the World Cup. I have a good feeling, and the players do too.
...Mesut Özil and Ilkay Gündogan: We had a good chat. It was Ilkay’s idea to meet the President of Germany. We talked things over on the weekend, and for me the issue is now closed. Now the focus is on the World Cup and what happens on the pitch.