Germany coach Joachim Löw and his players gave us their thoughts on Tuesday night’s 6-1 home win over Northern Ireland to ensure that Die Mannschaft top Group C in EURO 2020 qualifying.
Joachim Löw: I really enjoyed the game. We never let up. We continued to attack and look to score goals even at 3-1 up. We can be very pleased. Northern Ireland went ahead with their first shot, but we didn’t let it faze us. It wasn’t easy to get back into the game as they sat very deep, sometimes with nine players inside their own box. Nevertheless, we made some good runs and got our goals. In our recent team meetings, I’ve been asking the player to work the ball around, make a lot of movement, get shots away and give the fans a good performance – everything went to plan today. We wanted to show that we can play well across the entire 90 minutes, unlike the games against the Netherlands and Argentina. Today, and against Belarus, we wanted to demonstrate our ability to keep the tempo high and continue to play football.
Serge Gnabry has a lot of quality; he is deadly in front of goal, he helps build up the play, he opens up space and he can play in different areas. Jonas Hector also played very well today. He made a lot of forward runs, very intelligent ones too from wide positions into central areas. That allowed us to get in behind from central positions. Leon Goretzka is a player that always looks to get a shot away – he’s a dangerous midfielder who likes to come from deep and is unpredictable.
All four pots have good teams – the defending European champions, for example, are in pot three, but it will be nice to play all three group stage games in Munich. We’ll see who we get. We had a really tough group in 2012 with Denmark, Netherlands and Portugal – it isn’t always necessarily a disadvantage, because this way your concentration is high right from the start.
Jonas Hector: I am very happy, we had high expectations of ourselves today and wanted to give it everything we had. We got a reality check early on, but by the start of the second half when we made it 3-1, the game was turned completely. We’re working towards the Euros and this was another good step in that direction. I am very pleased we were able to end the year like this. I had hoped to play today - I tried to stand out at training and I got my chance. I gave it everything I had out there.
Serge Gnabry: I try to give my best in every game. I play up front here and it’s working well. It’s annoying to keep hearing and talking about a rebuilding phase. Yes, we’ve got a young team - we all get along very well. We always play well, we play very attractive football. We weren’t always able to get the results we wanted, but it’s looking a lot better now. I think we’ll go into the tournament with confidence – we’re on a good run, aside from the Netherlands game.
Leon Goretzka: We wanted to finish the year well because we knew that today would leave a lasting impression until March, so we were really motivated. We're very pleased that we accomplished what we wanted and it was a cracking evening. Every win gives us more confidence, especially because we're such a young team. Results are important to us. We played with a lot of freedom, although we needed to be patient in the first half because they had every man back behind the ball. We had more space in the second half and we used it well. I always try to give my best and to help the team as much as possible. Everyone will find their place here and we will continue to grow together. I've just heard that we'll be playing all of our group games in Munich. That's obviously fantastic news because we'll benefit from some huge home support.
Niklas Stark: I am absolutely thrilled. It was very emotional for me, especially because I had to wait so long for it. But it just made today even more special. There's still a lot of time before the Euros in the summer and I will be working really hard in the meantime. The coach has the final say, though. He told me before today's game that he was planning to give me my debut if things were going the right way. Everyone in the team has welcomed me so well and they've been so nice to me.