Ahead of the key upcoming Nations League matches against the Ukraine (Saturday 14th November, 20:45 CET) and Spain (Tuesday 17th November, 20:45 CET), head coach Joachim Löw’s team will face Czech Republic in a friendly tomorrow (Wednesday 11th November, 20:45 CET). Löw, Ilkay Gündogan and Kevin Trapp sat down on Tuesday for the pre-match press conference and discussed squad news, the lockdown, and the other effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Joachim Löw on…
…the line-up against the Czech Republic: We only had seven outfield players and one goalkeeper in training yesterday, which is an important thing to note as we head into the international break. Kevin Trapp will start tomorrow but we will have to see about Ilkay Gündogan, as he played for Manchester City on Sunday night and he’ll be an important player for us in the Nations League games. I’ll discuss it with him after our final session before the friendly. Antonio Rüdiger, Robin Koch and Julian Brandt will definitely be starting. I’m pleased with what I’ve seen from Luca Waldschmidt, both here and his performances in Lisbon. With the rest of the team, we’ll probably see how it’s looking on the day. There’s a big question mark around Benjamin Henrichs as he’s been having problems with his knee, and Robin Gosens won’t be available for tomorrow evening.
…frequent squad changes: I know what steps it takes to develop young players. It's not easy for us to deal with the current situation and also make sure players get enough of a break every now and then. It would be a lot easier if I could field the same team for each game, but we have to adapt to the changing circumstances. We always knew there would be setbacks bringing in young players, but it is a lot of fun to work with them. They’re full of energy and that’s great for me as a coach. It’s worth it to trust the younger players with a place in the squad, and I’m sure they will return that trust sooner rather than later.
…the Czech Republic: We’ve analysed some of their games over the last few months. They’re not a team that play overly physical football or bully their way through matches. They have a clear game plan, technically gifted players and a footballing philosophy. They like to match teams man-for-man and build up attacking moves from deep. They have a lot of quality in their squad and always play with confidence.
…managing how many games players are involved in: We’ve made the decision that the players who have players who have played a lot of games recently will not join up with the team until Thursday, so that they have some time for recovery. Then we’ll have to see after that. Toni Kroos is suspended against Ukraine but will be available for the game against Spain. All the rest of the squad are available to play in both games.
…the three potential debutants: The new boys will definitely get the chance to get involved in their first big international games tomorrow, that’s for sure. Philipp Max has been in the picture for a little while. We saw him play at Augsburg and he’s been putting in good performances in Eindhoven recently as well. He has a lot of strengths to his game going forwards and on the flanks. Now is his time to shine on the international stage; he’s definitely in my plans for the future.
…Marco Reus: I’ve been in close contact with Lucien Favre for some time and if anyone knows Marco well, it’s him. We’re both well aware of his personal circumstances and we’ve decided that he should stay at Dortmund and spend the international break there. He was injured for a very long time and needs to build up stability and get back into the rhythm of things so he can get through the winter and keep playing at his best.
...the large number of games in the next few months: If we coaches aren’t really careful at the moment, we’ll have a big problem next year. The schedule is too busy and the players have to deal with the consequences of that. Health is the most important thing and that isn’t guaranteed right now. There’s a clear reason why there have been so many injuries. Every coach needs to be smart if they want to have mentally and physically fit players next summer.
Ilkay Gündogan on...
... returning to the team: It’s great to be back. I’m looking forward to these games and I’m feeling good. I’m glad that I’ve managed to get back into some rhythm after a break; I’m in a good place going into the games. I have expectations of myself and I want to achieve those.
... his role in the upcoming games: I assume I’ll be captain if I’m playing, but I don’t know that. Obviously I’d love to be. My role is similar to what it has been in the last few months. I’m one of the experienced players now so I try to lead by example with my performances and if there’s something I need to address, I will. I think there’s always a lot of competition for places. It’s not just good for the side, it’s good for me personally when players are pushing for a place. I don’t feel like my position in the starting eleven is safe. I’d like it to be, but that means I have to keep showing what I’ve got so I get selected.
… Joshua Kimmich’s injury: I feel really sorry for Joshua. I wish him all the best and hope he has a speedy recovery. We’ll definitely miss having him around, but the players we have will do their best on and off the pitch. We won’t force people into roles they’re not comfortable with though. Toni Kroos and I, along with the other experienced players, will lead the way.
… Coronavirus: Obviously we’re desperate to have fans back in the stadium, but public health is clearly more important and it’s not all about sport. When I tested positive, I was worried about the people around me, like my parents and grandparents. I came through it well, but I did have bad symptoms. We need to be responsible and not be selfish; we have to protect the people around us. The first two weeks back in training were difficult, but I’ve been able to get some match practice, including full 90 minutes under my belt, so I think I’m ready to play now.
Kevin Trapp on...
...Germany’s goalkeeping situation: The situation is similar to how it has been in recent years. We have an outstanding goalkeeper in Manuel Neuer. My aim is obviously to be there for the tournaments and to make them notice me with my performances. I always want to keep a clean sheet. Obviously the fact is that I am yet to win an international match, but we weren’t playing the worst opponents. There were quite a few games where you wouldn’t necessarily have expected us to win. I’d like to win a game sometime, though. I always want to perform well, and that’s what I want to do in this next match too.
...the value of international football: I still know how it felt before, back when I always just wanted to be there with the national team. I’m pretty confident that every footballer has the same dream of playing for their national team. Every time I’m here I wear the shirt with pride. You are representing your country, which brings a lot of responsibility.
...turning things around: We know what we have done right and what we have done wrong. When you concede six goals in two games, something must be going wrong. We have to improve as a team. It’s obviously not easy when you haven’t played together. Regardless, it’s our duty to do better. We want to do that in the next matches. We have to respect that a complete turnaround doesn’t happen overnight. The results haven’t always been good recently, but if you look just at our performances then there have been plenty of positives. If you see how eager the players are to be here, it’s a lot of fun and we will return to being successful in the near future.
...health concerns: The situation is difficult for everyone. If the games are going ahead then I assume that everyone is well-protected and that no risks are being taken. I am therefore looking forward to the game and I am able to concentrate on my performance.