A strong first half meant Germany prevailed over World Cup quarter-finalists Russia last night. After the 3-0 win in Leipzig against this year’s World Cup hosts, national coach Joachim Löw spoke about the performances of the younger players, playing three at the back and the upcoming Nations League game against the Netherlands on Monday (20:45 CET).
Interviewer: How would you class the win against Russia?
Joachim Löw: In the first half we played with a really high tempo. We passed the ball around well and built up a good dynamic by playing out from the back which was also utilised well in the final third. Two of the three goals were set up very well.
Interviewer: Why was the play slightly worse after the break?
Löw: In the second half we no longer had that tempo, depth or width in our play. You have to allow for that with young players.
Interviewer: What will you take away from this match?
Löw: That we made good runs and created room for ourselves which is something we’ve been working on. We also have to be more dangerous in the final third - we wanted to see that killer instinct. It was important that we used our chances since that’s the key to winning games and something we’ve been focusing on in the last few days.
Interviewer: What do you make of Kai Havertz’s development?
Löw: His development is very good. He’s very mature for his age and operates in a very calm manner. He also has great ball control and, if you’ve seen the third goal, you can see his quality. For a 19-year-old he is outstandingly good. I can imagine that he will play a key role in the team within the next few years.
Interviewer: What did you make youngsters Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sané and Timo Werner?
Löw: They were very good and worked hard at the back as well. Serge Gnabry is very versatile and makes excellent runs but he can also utilise other players very well. He is the player who, at the moment, is best suited for us up front.
Interviewer: How bad is Jonas Hector’s injury?
Löw: He took a real blow to the ankle. The ligaments are all working fine. It doesn’t look like he’ll be out for long.
Interviewer: The younger generation are being included a lot. What do you expect from them?
Löw: It is conceivable that Joshua Kimmich, Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz and others can form the framework for our team, but they also have to grow a bit. This generation already has the skill set and have known each other for a long time. They can be the backbone to our team.
Interviewer: You went for three at the back during the match. Is that an option for the future?
Löw: It’s not permanent - we’ve had good games with a back four. The back three is a variation that has both positives and negatives. It’s good when you can play with both formations.
Interviewer: What do you expect on Monday against the Netherlands, who won the reverse fixture 3-0?
Löw: We have something to make up for and will do everything in our power to ensure we win the match.